On Monday, September 27, 2021, the Brooklyn Park City Council accepted a $3,345,516 grant from the FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency to hire 12 additional firefighters. The competitive grant was awarded under the “Staffing For Adequate Fire And Emergency Response” (SAFER) grant program.
SAFER was created to provide funding directly to fire departments to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, front-line firefighters available in their communities.
“This grant will allow us to increase the number of on-shift firefighters working every day in the City of Brooklyn Park,” says Fire Chief T. John Cunningham. “When seconds count during a fire or medical emergency, having additional on-duty staff will greatly enhance our ability to render rapid, professional emergency care to our community.”
Hiring additional firefighters will bring the fire department into greater compliance with nationally accepted staffing standards and best practices. The fire department completed a comprehensive strategic plan in May 2019 that identified the need for additional resources to meet the growing needs of the community.
The grant will provide federal funding of $1,115,172 each year of the three-year grant to cover the salaries and benefits of each of the new firefighters. The city will begin the hiring process soon with the goal of starting the next Firefighter Cadet Academy in late-February 2022.
“The new Firefighter Cadets will go through more than six months of intensive classroom and hands-on training to prepare them to be the next generation of Brooklyn Park firefighters.” In 2021, Brooklyn Park graduated its first full-time firefighters from its Fire Academy program.
The city will be hiring from the Firefighter Cadet eligibility list that was established in 2020; there will not be a new application or written test administered for this hiring period. The city’s Human Resources Division will be contacting candidates who are selected to move forward in the next part of the hiring process.
This is the second FEMA grant awarded to the fire department in 2021. Earlier, the city received a $207,358 grant to install vehicle exhaust removal systems at each of the department’s four firehouses.
For additional information on the city’s SAFER grant, you can watch the City Council meeting here.
We appreciate the hard work of our local, state, federal elected officials for supporting the AFG and SAFER grant programs.