The Cape Girardeau Fire Department will be hiring a few new firefighters, thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The 2007 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants awarded $316,275 to the fire department to be used for recruitment, training or hiring purposes.
The grant is designed to provide a way of directly funding fire departments and volunteer fire interest organizations so they can increase the number of trained firefighters on the front lines.
One goal of the SAFER grant is to help community fire departments with their ability to meet operational standards established by the National Fire Protection Association and Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Missouri fire departments received a total of nearly $2 million in SAFER grants, all of which will be used to hire new staff.
In Cape Girardeau, the grant will open up three new firefighting positions.
U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson called the grant a "great boon to the public servants" of Cape Girardeau's fire service communities, because they will be able to expand their staff size.
Specifically, SAFER funds are meant to assist local fire departments with enhanced staffing capabilities so they can sufficiently reduce their response time and be able to have adequate manpower at the scene of an emergency.
"In rural parts of the nation like southern Missouri, we encounter a lot of unique, and costly, challenges," Emerson said.
She hopes the extra funding will be helpful in overcoming some of the those challenges, improving fire safety and the quality of emergency response, she said.
As a co-chairwoman of the Congressional Fire Caucus, Emerson has said in previous interviews that she's gained a greater appreciation for those who put themselves on the front lines every day.
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