East Fork Fire receives $1.1 million staffing grant | RecordCourier.com

East Fork Fire receives $1.1 million staffing grant

Staff Reports

The East Fork Fire Protection District will be able to add four more firefighters to its ranks following the award of a $1,153,837 grant from the Department of Homeland Security.  

Four more firefighters will join East Fork Fire Protection District’s ranks after the receipt of a $1.15 million federal grant.

The Department of Homeland Security Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Program grant will help train more front-line firefighters.

The district received one of just 300 grants awarded nationally, East Fork Chief Tod Carlini said on Thursday.

Nationwide, $345 million was available to help local agencies comply with staffing, response, and operational standards established by the National Fire Protection Association Standard 1710.  East Fork follows the national guidelines in its standard of cover, adopted by the District Board in 2017

Carlini said that he was very happy about receiving the grant.  This was the district’s third application for the highly sought after grants.

Under the grant, East Fork will receive 75 percent of the funding for the positions for the first two years and 35 percent of the funding for the third year.  The district then assumes the full cost of the positions in the fourth year to allow agencies to expand their work force immediately and phase in the complete cost over the three years.  

Carlini said the district will have to budget for the full cost over the next three years, starting in fiscal year 2020/21.

“East Fork is challenged by its large geographic coverage area and long transport times in many case for its ambulances,” Carlini said. “When all three ambulances are committed on calls, the district’s daily firefighting capacity is reduced by 30 percent.  

On average, East Fork is responding to calls somewhere in the district 22 out of 24 hours each day.

The East Fork Fire Protection District Board of Directors approved the grant award at a special board meeting.  

Under the current labor agreement, applicants must complete the Carson Regional Fire Academy, which starts on Oct. 21.  The four new positions under the grant must be filled by Oct. 14 in order to process those individual prior to the academy start date.

East Fork is one of largest advanced life support patient transporting agencies in the region, Carlini said. 

“Having the additional personnel will bolster the number of firefighters that can be assembled at a structure fire,” he said. The district relies on its career staff to respond to the vast majority of calls, including the 5,000-plus medical calls each year.

During Carlini’s tenure as the District Fire Chief, the District has grown from a total four firefighter-medics and one supervisor on duty per day, all in one station, to its soon to be deployment of 23 personnel per day, including firefighter-medics, engineers, captains, and one battalion chief to manage daily shift operations.   

“Communities do grow in time and services need to be advanced and expanded, which includes the need for additional personnel,” said Carlini.  Those hired under the grant will be joining four others who are being hired to fill positions vacant due to current and future retirements and two newly created positions funded entirely by the district in the current budget.   

Under the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Program, funding is directly provided to fire agencies to help them increase the number of trained, front-line firefighters available in their communities. The goal is to enhance a local fire agency’s ability to comply with staffing, response, and operational standards established by the National Fire Protection Association Standard 1710.  

East Fork Chief Tod Carlini said $345 million was available nationally and on a competitive basis.  East Fork follows the national guidelines in its standard of cover, adopted by the District Board in 2017.  The grants are highly sought after.

It is estimated that 300 grant awards were made nationally.   

Carlini said that he was very happy about receiving the grant.  The District has applied for the grant on two other unsuccessful occasions.   Under the SAFER Program, fire agency receives 75 percent of the funding for the positions for the first two years and 35 percent of the funding for the third year.  The agency then assumes the full cost of the positions in the fourth year.  The intent is to allow agencies to expand their work force immediately and phase in the complete cost over the three years.  Carlini noted that it will be incumbent on the district to plan on the assumption of full cost over the next three years, starting in fiscal year 2020/21.  

East Fork is challenged by its large geographic coverage area and long transport times in many case for its ambulances.  Carlini said that when all three ambulances are committed on calls, the District’s daily firefighting capacity is reduced by 30 percent.  On average, East Fork is responding to calls somewhere in the district 22 out of 24 hours each day.

The East Fork Fire Protection District Board of Directors approved the grant award at a special board meeting.  The administration was given approval to move forward with offering positions from its current list if interested applicants.  Under the current labor agreement, applicants must complete the Carson Regional Fire Academy, which starts on Oct. 21.  The four new positions under the grant must be filled by Oct. 14 in order to process those individual prior to the academy start date.

East Fork is one of largest Advanced Life Support patient transporting agencies in the region, Carlini said. Having the additional personnel will bolster the number of firefighters that can be assembled at a structure fire.  While the district still relies on volunteer personnel, the role of the volunteer has been changed to more of a logistical role and for wildland firefighting.   While the district has been successful in recruiting new volunteers under the new volunteer program and that volunteers are an important part of the entire delivery system, the district relies on its career staff to respond to the vast majority of calls.  This is especially true of the 5000 plus medical calls each year.

During Carlini’s tenure as the District Fire Chief, the District has grown from a total 4 firefighter/medics and one supervisor on duty per day, all in one station, to its soon to be deployment of 23 personnel per day, including firefighter/medics, engineers, captains, and one battalion chief to manage daily shift operations.   

“Communities do grow in time and services need to be advanced and expanded, which includes the need for additional personnel,” said Carlini.  Those individuals hired under the grant will be joining four other individuals who are being hired to fill positions vacant due to current and future retirements and two newly created positions funded entirely by the district in the current budget.