HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Horry County Council voted Tuesday evening to allow Horry County Fire Rescue to apply for FEMA’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant to help hire more firefighters.
Horry County Fire Rescue believes hiring 30 more firefighters would reduce response times, increase the number of personnel on scene and increase the safety of firefighters.
The grant, if awarded, would be for $6,297,766 with zero match for three years and then the full amount after. This means the grant would cover 100% of the average salary and benefits of a first-year career firefighter for the first three years. After three years, the expenses will become the responsibility of the county.
Turnout gear, training, physicals, and other costs for on-boarding new firefighters are not covered by the grant.
The grant requires a minimum staffing at the level at the time of application, plus the new hires. They must also commit to no layoffs during the three year period of the grant.
2018’s grant was for $3,618,156 and required a 75%, 75%, and 35% match over three years and then the full amount after.