Cosumnes Fire gains $1.9 million grant
The Cosumnes Fire Department received a $1.9 million federal grant to hire eight firefighters next year. U.S. Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) announced the funding at the fire agency’s Sheldon Road station on Sept. 21.
“As we’ve seen the expanded growth in this region, this is making sure that the firefighters are able to keep our communities safe,” Bera said.
These funds come from a $5 million Staffing For Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) grant that was awarded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The rest of the grant was issued to other agencies across Sacramento County that demonstrated financial needs, including $3.7 million for Mather Airport.
Cosumnes Fire Chief Mike McLaughlin said that his agency’s $1.9 million share will be used to restore eight firefighter positions that were lost in the past 10 years. The grant will pay for their salaries and benefits for three years until the new employees are added to the department’s general payroll.
“(The funds) will help us relieve some of the impacts that our personnel is seeing in the streets,” McLaughlin said, adding that the new hires will also reduce staff overtime.
The fire chief mentioned that his staff’s emergency call volume rose 40 percent in the past four years.
Cosumnes firefighters serve Elk Grove, Galt, and other communities within a 157-square mile jurisdiction.
McLaughlin said that plans are to place the eight new recruits into his agency’s fire academy next March. He noted they will join a large class of 20 recruits that are needed since 12 fire employees are expected to retire by June.
Training can last up to 23 weeks at the academy’s training center in Elk Grove.