Mary Alice Reporting:

(New Philadelphia, Ohio) – Service operations will be more efficient for the New Philadelphia Fire Department as they add firefighters to their roster with the aid of a grant.

The FEMA Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant was awarded in August for almost $80,000.

Captain Wes Tucke says three of the seven new hires have been sworn in by the city’s Mayor, with the remaining four joining this week.

He notes that the staff additions will bring the fire department to regulations regarding the number of firefighters suggested on shift.

“Since I started 23 years ago, we ran 1,400 calls and we’re up to almost 2,900 calls now, and with only three additional men in that time. So, we struggle to have enough men here to handle all the calls that we get here every day.” 

All of the new hires will go through a two-week orientation where they will have training exercises in live fires, auto fires, and vehicle extrication.

The grant money will cover 75% of the cost for the new personnel in the first two years and 35% in the third year. During that period, the City of New Philadelphia will pay just short of $550,000.

(Pictured: Cory Tessmer (left), Mike Schlabach, and Mitch Warehime)

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