SPRING HILL, Tenn. (WKRN) – The city of Spring Hill’s Fire Department has been awarded the ‘SAFER’ Grant, putting $3.1 million towards hiring additional staff.
In the town of Spring Hill, things often run smoothly and quietly, but it takes just one second for things to change gears.
“So a typical day is pretty busy for us,” said one firefighter, describing the calls they respond to on any normal day. “The very seldom structure fire, car wrecks, fire alarms, mostly medical calls.”
The calls never stop, which is why now is the perfect time for recruitment to reach new heights.
“The city of Spring Hill is growing leaps and bounds; that’s not a hidden fact, and the fire department has to match that growth with the growth of population, industry, houses, etc. Our call volume increases and as our call volume increases, we need more apparatus on the street to cover those calls,” said Spring Hill Fire Chief Graig Temple.
However, who will cover all of those calls? It’s a question the department started asking some time ago.
“[The] Spring Hill Fire Department identified several years ago that our staffing was not meeting the national standard which is,” Temple said.
The goal of the fire department is to always respond, no matter what. They continue to make it work, even without a full staff.
“Firefighters are much more efficient in a group of four, and that’s what we’ve been operating under. We’ve been having three firefighters on every apparatus, so the fourth firefighter provides safety, both for the firefighters when they are on the scene of a structure fire or an emergency,” he explained. “It also allows us to be more efficient when we arrive, get our hose lines in faster…we can rescue people faster; it just makes the entire operation run much more smoother.”
Now, in a turn of events, help is on the way for the fire department.
The purpose of the SAFER Grant Program is to provide funding directly to fire departments to assist in increasing the number of firefighters to help communities meet industry minimum standards and attain 24-hour staffing to provide adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards, and to fulfill traditional missions of fire departments.
The struggles of the Spring Hill Fire Department have not gone without notice of those in Spring Hill City Hall. Wanting to fill a need, Mayor Jim Hagaman wanted to lend a hand.
“Sometimes those departments need a little bit more cash inflow and last year, we the board, mayor, and alderman put together a resolution to ask the fire department to apply for a grant, and just last month it was awarded to the tune of $3.1 million,” said Hagaman.
On Monday, Oct. 2, the Spring Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved Resolution 23-200 to accept the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant, awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA).
“When you call 911 and you need fire and rescue, the more personal and the more apparatus that we have to respond to those calls, and the faster that happens, is certainly better, because seconds matter in a crucial situation,” he said.
The $3.1 million grant will cover all pay and benefits for 13 newly hired firefighters during the operational period. This is projected to cover the current staffing deficit within the department.