By Keldine Hull
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant, totaling over $1.5 million, was awarded to the Culver City Fire Department following City Council’s unanimous vote on last month in favor of accepting the grant.
“The SAFER grant will help our Fire Department improve its staffing and deployment capabilities in order to respond to emergencies more safely and effectively,” said Culver City Mayor Meghan Sahli- Wells in a statement. According to a Culver City news release, last year saw a record high of over 6,700 responses, up 20 percent from 2016.
“The SAFER grant will help defray the costs of adding six new firefighters to the department and put a much- needed third paramedic rescue ambulance into service,” said Culver City Fire Chief David White. “We are extremely grateful for the support of our community, the Mayor and City Council. The total number of operational career personnel will increase to 60 members and the department’s daily staffing will grow from 18 to 20 members.” It’s been nearly 40 years since the department last increased its daily frontline staffing.
The SAFER grant is a three- year commitment, covering 75 percent of salary and benefit costs for new firefighters in the first two years and 35 percent of costs in the third year.