PETAL, MS (WDAM) - The Petal Fire Department received a federal grant for recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters.
U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) announced that the department is the latest Mississippi organization to receive federal funding to ensure adequate first responder staffing.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration approved the $961,869 grant for the department through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.
The staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant funding is intended to support the hiring of firefighters and the recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters.
"This grant funding is meant to alleviate some of the hardships inherent with firefighting as an occupation. The retention and recruitment of firefighting personnel helps ensure that sufficient first responders are available to answer the call during emergencies," Cochran said in an issued news release.
With the Petal award, fire departments in Mississippi have received more than $4.15 million in FY2016 SAFER grants this summer. Other grants awards include: Southaven Fire Department, $1.56 million; Biloxi Fire Department, $1.01 million; Clinton Fire Department, $544,788; and Byhalia Volunteer Fire Department, $66,370. Other FY2016 awards are possible.
The FY2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act, enacted in May, included $345 million to continue SAFER grants, which are awarded to fire departments and national, state, local, or tribal organizations that represent the interests of volunteer firefighters. The grants help fire departments comply with response and operation standards set by the National Fire Protection Association.
According to Petal Fire Chief Joe Hendry applications for these positions are available at Petal City Hall or online at CityofPetal.com.
The application process will run through October 31, and candidates for the nine positions will be chosen from the application pool.