Polk County Fire Rescue receives SAFER Grant for additional firefighters

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Bartow, Fla. (July 28, 2017) — Fire services will be improving in Polk County, thanks to the county’s receipt of a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant. Polk County Fire Rescue (PCFR) was notified today by the Department of Homeland Security that they have been awarded the grant that will allow the division to add new firefighters next year.

The three-year grant award of about $4 million requires matching funds to the federal contribution. Polk County will pay about $2.5 million to match the grant. PCFR will hire 30 new firefighters with SAFER grant funds that will augment staffing on under-staffed engines. Currently, Polk County Fire Rescue has 534 employees, most who are also cross-trained as EMTs or paramedics.

“We are very pleased to receive this SAFER grant,” said County Manager Jim Freeman. “Public safety is the most important service that we provide the residents of Polk County. This federal grant comes at a critical time, as the county continues to pursue ways to address growing public safety service demands.”

On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank U.S. Representatives Dennis Ross, Tom Rooney and Darren Soto, and Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio for their letters and phone calls of support that helped Polk County secure this funding,” said Melony Bell, Board Chair. “This will allow the county to provide more effective services and enhance firefighter safety.”

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