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City wins $1.25 million federal grant for 12 new firefighters

The city of Hendersonville has received a $1.25 million grant that will enable the fire department to add 12 firefighters and a new fire engine.


The SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) grant comes from the Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“The safety of our citizens and visitors is vital to us,” said Mayor Barbara Volk. “The SAFER grant will allow for fuller coverage in emergency situations throughout the city. We congratulate the Hendersonville Fire Department staff for their work in securing this grant for us.”
The SAFER grant is intended to help local fire departments improve their staffing and deployment capabilities in order for them to respond to emergencies more effectively. The Hendersonville City Council in March directed the fire department to submit a grant application.

“We will utilize this grant to hire 12 firefighters, giving us the ability to staff an additional engine company and much needed Battalion Chief positions,” Hendersonville Fire Chief Joseph Vindigni said. “This will not only improve our service delivery to the City but also improve safety while operating on the fire ground and at emergency incidents.”

The SAFER grant is awarded for a period of three years, with the city picking up the cost of the new personnel in a gradually rising percentage. The grant pays for 75 percent of the salary and benefits for the new firefighters in the first and second year of the grant; the third year of the grant funds 35 percent of salary and benefits. After that, the city is responsible for all the cost.

U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows will present the SAFER grant check to city and fire officials at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, at Fire Station 2, 632 Sugarloaf Road.