Township tries SAFER grant


By Amanda Amsel
Staff Writer

The Franklin Township Fire Department has applied for the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant.

The federal grant gives money to financially troubled fire departments to properly staff their emergency response vehicles.

“The goal of the grant is to keep residents and fire departments safe by helping staff fire departments that can’t afford to do it on their own,” said Rick Howard, the township’s fire chief. “Last year at this time I had 40 people, now I have 32.”

The fire department applied for a $1.4 million grant to hire eight full-time firefighters. If the township receives the grant, it would be able to keep the new hires on for at least two years.

“The grant is a temporary fix and is not permanent,” Howard said. “The purpose of it is to give us time to find other sources of revenue for the fire department. After two years if the department has not figured out a solution to our financial issues, the new hires could be laid off.”

According to Howard, the reason the department is short eight firefighters is because of layoffs, resignations and retirements. Howard said every time they lose another person, they are not filling that position because of the financial issues plaguing the department.

Recently, Franklin Township temporarily closed its Sullivant Avenue station because of a staffing shortage. This closure had a ripple effect for the Columbus Fire Department and the surrounding communities that had to respond to Franklin Township emergency calls.

Since the fire levy failed, the Franklin Township Fire Department stations have also not run all their equipment at both stations because of staffing issues.

The township is competing against 15,000 other communities for the SAFER Grant and expects to learn if they received it by the end of June.

“I feel we have an equal chance of getting the grant,” Howard said. “Our need is just as great as larger fire departments out there.”

Previous articlePrairie Township to host farmer’s market
Next articleBusiness brewing in Hilltop area


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.