Jemison Fire Department enhances protection coverage

Published 2:07 pm Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Jemison Fire Department (JFD) was awarded a $106,240 federal fire grant to enhance fire protection coverage in the community.

The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency (SAFER) grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will allow the Jemison Fire Department to hire two new full-time fire personnel to enhance coverage between the normal workday hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., according to Fire Chief John Dennis.

“One challenge a volunteer-based department has is assembling and responding to fire and rescue calls during working hours when members are at their jobs,” Dennis said in a release. “This grant will allow our department to have a minimum of two firefighters on full-time duty during the daytime hours. It will help to expand the protection that we are able to provide to our community.”

Dennis said the department had been pursuing the grant for several years and was excited to be chosen as the recipient of the grant this year.

Currently, the department has two part-time paid firefighters and 20 volunteer firefighters.

Dennis said on average, JFD responds to 75 calls per month.

“This grant will allow us to be able to respond more rapidly with full credentialed personnel to manage incidents,” Dennis said.

Dennis thanked Congressman Spencer Bachus for his support of the fire grant program. “The Jemison Fire Department provides excellent service to the community and this grant will further enhance its coverage.” Bachus said in a release. “Firefighters risk their own safety and lives to protect us and deserve the resources that will allow them to respond quickly and effectively to emergency calls. The department is to be commended for submitting a strong application that resulted in a successful grant award.”

SAFER grants improve the ability of fire departments to attain and maintain 24-hour staffing and to assure that communities have adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards. Funds are awarded under a competitive application process and only applications closely conforming to program priorities are considered and scored by peer review panels.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security administers the program.