Grant will allow Tiffin Fire Dept to be fully-staffed - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Grant will allow Tiffin Fire Dept to be fully-staffed

TIFFIN, OH (Toledo News Now) -

For the first time since 2009, the Tiffin Fire Department will be fully-staffed, thanks to a grant.

In 2009, the City of Tiffin had 39 firefighters on duty. Once the economy took a turn and after retirements, the department has had about 34 on duty. That may not seem like a big difference for some departments, but for Tiffin, it is.

"In May of [last] year, it was the first time that we were unable to respond in a timely manner on an ambulance call," said Chief William Ennis.

With the help of Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown, the federally-funded SAFER Grant – Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response – will help the department hire five new firefighters.

Thanks to the grant, firefighters on duty will be increase from eight to 10 per shift. And it won't cost the city a penny. The grant accounts for $775,000 over two years.

"When you're talking safety to your firefighters and you're talking service to citizens, yes, it does make me relax and sleep a little bit better," Chief Ennis said. "By putting 10 on duty, we'll be able to go back to being able to handle two calls at one time."

The SAFER grant will fund the new hires for two years. The city and the Tiffin Fire Department are hoping the five firefighters will be retained when the grant expires in 2016.

"We're really hoping that we continue to see those growth trends in the local economy," said Mayor Aaron Montz. "If we were to see that, I think the chances are extremely high that we'll be able to maintain the staffing level and hopefully at the same time, increasing staffing also in other safety service areas in the city. That has been a primary function of all of us, and we're hoping to get there."

City council still has to vote to accept the grant. Mayor Montz will recommend they do that on Monday.

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