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City of Woodland Awarded Federal Grant to Augment Fire Department Staffing
Woodland, CA –
On Wednesday September 18th, the City of Woodland received notification from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of a grant award under FEMA’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program.
The SAFER grant provides the City with funds totaling $787,405 over three years to expand sworn Firefighter staffing by three (3) positions, effectively increasing the Woodland Fire Department’s minimum staffing from 13 to 14 personnel per shift. The additional position(s) will add a fourth firefighter assigned to the department’s Ladder Company. This additional position will allow the Ladder Company to improve the efficiency of initial response and improve the outcomes for a range of emergency responses, such as structure fires and vehicle accidents. In addition the additional staffing will ensure a safer environment for firefighters responding to major emergencies
The goal of FEMA’s SAFER grant program is to assist local fire departments and reduce the burden of hiring firefighters to help protect communities across the nation. The three-year grant provides federal funding to cover 75% of the full cost of the three new firefighter positions during the first and second years of the grant, and 35% of the cost in the third year. The City is responsible for providing local “matching funds” to cover the remainder of cost of the position through the term of the grant. The City Council previously approved the City’s submittal of the SAFER Grant application, and included the required local matching funds as part of the 2020 fiscal year budget.
The increase in staffing will assist the Woodland Fire Department to meet various performance objectives, such as confining building fires to the room-of-origin, keep vegetation fires to under one-acre in size, and treat multiple medical patients at a single incident. “This position will help us operate faster to save lives while increasing firefighter safety,” stated Woodland Fire Chief Becky Ramirez. “Whether victims are trapped in a vehicle, in a structure, or in need of medical care, this increase in staffing will allow us to operate more effectively and efficiently, ultimately making our citizens safer and decreasing property loss.”
Mayor Xóchitl Rodriguez commented, “We are pleased to have been awarded this grant which is reflective of the City Council’s commitment to public safety and our ongoing efforts to support the staffing needs of both our fire and police departments.” City Manager Paul Navazio added, “Across all our City departments we continue to be successful in pursuing outside grants to leverage our local funding in support of the City Council’s strategic goals. It is noteworthy that this SAFER grant is the fourth federally-funded grant awarded to the Woodland Fire Department within the past year.”
The grant award will be brought before City Council at its October 1st meeting, where the Council will take action to accept the grant and authorize the hiring of the new positions.