This episode, Prescott Fire Battalion Chief Cory Moser discusses why his department got a SAFER grant, as well as what will happen when it runs out.
The Prescott Fire Department, which had been “browning-out” its Station 73 at the airport since January 2016 for lack of staff, in April 2017 said it added enough employees that it would no longer have to continue the practice.
A federal grant, known as a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant, supplied the city with $1.5 million, which it used to hire nine firefighters in August 2016.
The SAFER dollars pay the salaries of the new firefighters for two years, after which “a determination for the continued funding of the grant-funded positions will need to be addressed,” Devendorf said.
There were several close calls as a result of the cutbacks, Fire Chief Dennis Light said.
One of the closest was a fire in a dumpster at the airport that threatened to spread into a nearby building.
“Luckily, the fire department’s specialized Aircraft Rescue Firefighting (ARFF) truck was able to respond across the airport grounds and apply aircraft firefighting foam to the fire, keeping it from getting to the construction office, until such time that the next closest staffed engine company could get on scene to fully extinguish the fire,” Light said.
“Another call, which came very close to having a bad outcome, was a major vehicle accident in the same area.
“One of the patients required extrication from their vehicle, and with the engine company not staffed, the extrication tools were not available when the Rescue truck arrived on the scene,” said Light, but the patient was stable enough to wait for extrication tools to arrive.
A third close call happened when a helicopter crashed at the airport during a brownout.
“Again, luckily, the patient’s conditions and complicating factors such as fire, fuel leaks, and the need for extrication tools, were not such that an engine company needed to get to the scene immediately so the ARFF truck and the rescue were able to take action without a bad outcome,” Light said.
The SAFER grant runs to February 2019