Summerfield VFD receives retention grant

Published 12:07 am Sunday, March 20, 2011

In an effort to encourage people to become or stay volunteer firefighters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has started offering grants to stimulate recruitment and improve retention.

This year, Dallas County’s own Summerfield Volunteer Fire Department was awarded $46,800 in a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant (SAFER) just for that reason.

“It will be nice,” Summerfield VFD chief Kevin Box said. “It will give us something to give back to the firefighters. They have to pay for gas to the station and a bunch of other things. This is just nice now they can at least have a little in return.”

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The SAFER grant will help Summerfield add to their number of 14 volunteer firefighters, as well as keep the ones they have already.

Box said this was the first time a grant like this was available for volunteer firefighters.

“It’s not the first year FEMA has had this type of grant, but normally it is for pay stations,” Box said. “This year we were finally able to apply for the grant without having to match fund and we were lucky enough to get it.”

The SAFER grant will be spread out over four years, Box said he realized that it is a good amount, but has to be spent wisely.

“Like I said, we are lucky, but when you think about it over those four years, its not a whole lot,” Box said. “It spreads pretty thin, but it will really help us. It’s just nice to have.”