Fresno Fire Department hiring 42 firefighters with new grant money

Nearly 32,000 calls for service and 5,000 fires - that's what the Fresno Fire Department has faced since the start of 2021.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Fresno Fire department will soon have over 40 new firefighters on the team.

The much-needed help is thanks to a grant the department just received this week.

Nearly 32,000 calls for service and 5,000 fires - that's what the Fresno Fire Department has faced since the start of 2021.

"This fire department is such a great group of men and women that continue to answer the call every day regardless of their staffing levels," said Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis.

With only 81 firefighters on duty each day they're operating at nearly the same staffing levels they were at in 1980 but a newly awarded SAFER grant is adding 42 recruits to the team.

"The SAFER grant will pay for 100% of firefighters salary and benefits over three years," explained Donis. "Giving the city time to lean in to picking up that cost."

This will also boost daily staffing levels to 95 on duty firefighters.

"Moving the needle to 95 is a big leap forward," said Donis. "Most metro fire departments our size have about 120-140 each day, so we have a long ways to go but man this is a big leap."

The department applied for the $12.6 million grant at the beginning of the year and say the added funding allows them to better serve their citizens and protect firefighters safety.

"By May of 2022 we will have all 42 in the field and we'll be implementing more squads, more firefighters, better response times," continued Donis.

They've already gone through the application process with the first class starting in October.

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