Albemarle County is proud to announce that Albemarle County Fire Rescue has been awarded $401,000 to expand and strengthen its volunteer fire rescue volunteer recruitment and retention efforts. The grant is part of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program managed by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA).
The SAFER grant will aid in increasing the breadth and diversity of the County’s volunteers, and will provide an opportunity for Albemarle to further demonstrate its commitment to supporting volunteers as an integral part of the operational force. An increase in volunteers, achieved through both recruitment and retention, will allow for improved staffing and resources leading to an immediate increase in firefighter safety, reduced response time, and improved public safety.
The SAFER grant will be 100% federally funded. The work will be spread out over four years and includes both recruitment activity as well as funds to help train and outfit the new volunteers. Furthermore, 3% of this grant is earmarked for general administrative fees normally incurred over the life of the program so there will be no cost to County taxpayers to implement this grant.
“Our fire rescue system is challenged to effectively attract the necessary number of volunteers to meet our current population growth rate and associated demand on services,” said Albemarle County Fire Rescue Chief Dan Eggleston. “New recruiting efforts, along with retention of existing members, will help us provide a quality level of service for both civilians and responders alike. The SAFER grant will have a direct positive impact on our recruiting and retention efforts.”
“I would like to congratulate the Fire Rescue system on this achievement which emphasizes the County’s commitment to efficiency, accountability, and innovation,” said Albemarle County Executive Tom Foley. “Our system has always been very focused on the successful recruitment and retention of volunteers on whom we depend to provide vital service to our citizens, and we appreciate this additional funding that will support those efforts.”
“On behalf of the Board of Supervisors, I congratulate the Albemarle Fire Rescue Department and the entire system on receiving this grant, and thank them for their continued service to the County,” Board of Supervisor Chair Liz Palmer said. “The successful obtainment of this grant underscores the professionalism and high standards of our network of fire rescue service providers.”
The SAFER grant was created to provide direct funding to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations in order to help increase the number of trained firefighters in local communities. Albemarle County Fire Rescue is one of only a handful of Virginia departments to have been recognized by this national award. For more information about FEMA’s SAFER grants, visit https://www.fema.gov/staffing-adequate-fire-emergency-response-grants.