Dawson County has been awarded a grant for nine additional firefighters to staff a fire station that currently has only one person manning a fire engine at a time.
Dawson County Emergency Services Director Lanier Swafford presented the grant to the commission Aug. 10, and the board voted Aug. 17 to allow Swafford to accept the grant.
The firefighters, once hired, will be assigned to station No. 2, which is located on Hwy. 53 near the Tractor Supply. Swafford said that engine, being located in the Ga. 400 corridor, is the busiest in the county.
The Department of Homeland Security awards the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response, or SAFER, grant, and Swafford said that adding the nine firefighter/EMT positions will add three personnel to engine no. 2 each day, bringing that engine into compliance with national Fire Protection Association standards.
There are some stipulations: the firefighters can only be assigned to that station, they cannot be current part time or volunteer firefighters with the county, and at the end of three years, the county can, but is not obligated, to continue their employment.
The $1.5 million grant will cover 75 percent of the cost of salary and benefits for the first two years, and then 35 percent for the last year.
The county’s portion of the grant will be $144,360 for 2018 and 2019 and $351,994 for 2020. The county could also apply for an extension to the grant.
Swafford said this is the third time the county has applied for this grant, and that choosing to bring one station up to compliance rather than asking for a few firefighters for each station made the difference.