I was pleased to update attendees at our SC State Firefighters’ Association fall quarterly meeting last week at the South Carolina Fire Academy on the current status of our 2013 SAFER grant for recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters.

The intent of the grant was adding 900 new firefighters in these 11 specific counties: Allendale, Bamberg, Berkeley, Calhoun, Chesterfield, Hampton, Jasper, Laurens, Marlboro, McCormick, and Union. The pathways for becoming a new firefighter include utilizing the following: 1700 series, the 1152/1153, or the 1402 Hybrid course. The grant covers costs for fitness for duty physicals, training, and structural firefighter personal protective clothing (PPE).

So far 155 individuals have entered the program with 70 receiving fitness for duty physicals, firefighter training, and outfitting with a full complement of PPE. These volunteers are now serving their communities! The remaining 85 individuals have received their physicals; are in various stages of training, and upon successful completion of their course work will be outfitted with PPE.

As we now enter the final year of the 4-year grant we have many opportunities for improving our volunteer cadre. If you are a fire department Chief Officer, Administrator, or Commissioner in one of the 11 counties, funds are available to provide physicals, training, and PPE but I must hear from you. I can be reached at [email protected]

We are also awaiting approval of an amendment request to extend the grant offering into 5 additional counties. If approved, grant dollars have the potential for bringing 400 new firefighters into our ranks across the 16 counties. Successful implementation over the course of the grant creates the possibility adding 555 new firefighters to the roles of our state’s volunteer fire agencies.

Let’s utilize these grant dollars to the full benefit of South Carolina and the South Carolina Fire Service!


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