Mary Alice Reporting:

(Friday, August 10th) New Philadelphia, Ohio – A three-year grant will enable the New Philadelphia Fire Department to hire six additional personnel to their roster.

The FEMA Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant was awarded in the amount of $879,542.

City Mayor Joel Day explains that this will provide cost coverage to bring the total number of firefighters/paramedics to 28.

“The SAFER grant will cover 75% of the cost of the new hires for the first two years and 35% of the cost in the third year. The cost to the city of that period will be $546,742.”

<p>The fire department’s call volume has continued to rise and they are expected to respond to over 3,000 calls by the end of 2018.

Fire Chief Jim Parrish says the grant will create a significant change with how many calls they answer and will decrease overtime pay.

“This is going to change our operations for us to be able to better serve the community. We have multiple times a year that we have more than one call at the same time and that drains our resources very quickly. This is just an on-going effort for us to provide the best service that we possibly can and improve the margin of safety.”

At the end of the SAFER grants three-years, the money saved from not paying as much overtime will be used to keep the new hires.

Throughout the past three years, the department budgeted between $400,000 and $500,000 per year to pay overtime costs.

Councilman Kelly Ricklic notes that this is a win for New Philadelphia and Goshen Township residents and for the fire station since the new hiring allows each shift to have nine staff members, who rotate 24 hours on and 48 hours off.

Chief Parrish points out that the turnout gear and equipment for the new personnel was written into the grant. The hope is for the new firefighters to be on duty at the end of this year, making service operations more efficient.

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