Arson-prone Michigan city gets help to hire more firefighters

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Kristin Moore

New Flint, Michigan Fire Department Inductees

FLINT, Mich. — In September of 2016, Flint, Michigan’s fire department received the Staffing For Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant (SAFER).

According to the FEMA website, the SAFER grant is competitive among fire departments and volunteer firefighter organizations to assist them in increasing and maintaining the number of trained firefighter available in their communities. Its goal is to enhance the local fire departments abilities to comply with staffing, response times and operational standards.

Chief of the Flint Fire Department Raymond Barton knew when he stepped into his position, he wanted to bring the SAFER grant back to the city struggling for funding.

“Flint has had to close fire stations because of our lack of funding and bringing the SAFER grant brings funds back to Flint that we have lacking,” Barton said.

By receiving the SAFER grant, Flint’s Fire Department was able employ over 40 firefighters, EMTs and EMT Trainees.

Kristin Moore

New Flint, Michigan Fire Department Inductees

Flint firefighter Michael Thompson said, “This grant is not just something that’s important to the department but the entire city. Most importantly, we are able to be dispatched, to locations in need sooner, which means the safety net we are now allowed to give our residents has increased.”

In 2011, the FBI Uniform Crime Report, reported that based on Flint’s population they led cities with an arson fire rate of 280 per 100,000 residents.

Lifelong city resident Valencia Mitchell is pleased to learn about the steps fire department is taken to ensure safety in the city.

“With crime always rising as the temperature increases, so I am pleased to know that by receiving this funding, they can now employ more people and step up to make sure this city that I love so much is safe. Fire is now one less thing that I, and hopefully other residents have to worry about,” said Mitchell.