FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO) – The Fort Wayne Fire Department (FWFD) plans to hire 25 new firefighters.
Mayor Tom Henry and Fire Chief Eric Lahey made the announcement Friday, stating the vacancies are due in part to recent retirements. Ten of the 25 positions available are a result of the City of Fort Wayne receiving a $1.4 million Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant from the federal government.
SAFER grants were created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help increase the number of trained, front-line firefighters available in their communities.
The grant will cover the salaries and benefits for ten new firefighters hired for the City of Fort Wayne for the next three years. The additional 15 new firefighters’ salaries and benefits will be part of the City’s proposed 2019 budget request.
The 25 additional firefighters will enhance the fire department’s service by ensuring four firefighters are on a fire apparatus at all times. They will also fill positions that are vacated through anticipated and unanticipated retirements.
The newest fire academy class is expected to begin in February 2019. Currently, there are 339 firefighters serving the FWFD.