REVERE — A $1.1 million federal grant will help the Fire Department hire four new firefighters.
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant from U.S. Department of Homeland Security will allow the department to increase its staff from 102 to 106 firefighters this year.
“We are currently budgeted for 106 firefighter positions, but long-term injuries and three pending retirements make this grant especially important,” said Fire Chief Chris Bright.
The department will hire seven new firefighters in September and seven additional firefighters will attend the fire academy in October. Those seven will be ready for deployment by December, said Bright.
“Our goal is to make brown-outs a rarity,” said Bright.
The term “brown-outs” refers to the temporary closing of one fire station or piece of apparatus, typically on a shift-to-shift basis.
There were 380 out-of-service days in 2017, according to a statement from Mayor Brian Arrigo.
The city’s human resource department is working with the department to refill the reserve list to help it reach the 106 fire fighters.
“It’s a process,” said Bright. “There is a lag time in the hiring as we get candidates onto the reserve list and then we need to get them into slots at the fire academy for training before they are ready for active fire duty.”
It was a priority to strengthen public safety at all levels when the budget was being crafted, said Arrigo.
“We’re hoping that toward the end of 2019, the department will be at full complement, and manpower shortages will no longer be a reason that apparatus will be out of service,” said Arrigo. “Brown-outs will be much more manageable as they will relate to training or apparatus maintenance, but not manpower. This grant goes a long way toward helping us fulfill that goal.”