MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Memphis Fire Department is getting $10.7 million through a federal grant to hire more firefighters and paramedics.
Money from FEMA’S SAFER Grant was given to around 300 fire departments around the country.
MFD hasn’t said exactly how many firefighters it will hire, but Congressman Steve Cohen said the number could be significant.
“I would think they could hire upwards of 100 new firefighters and that’s important. I mean, we have fires, we have needs for firefighters,” said Cohen.
MFD has received SAFER Grant money in at least three previous years. In 2017, they said they would spend the $6.5 million they were given on hiring 54 firefighters and paramedics.
Cohen said attracting new firefighters is important given how many left for more lucrative jobs with other fire departments.
“They do a great job and they risk their lives in so many circumstances that we need to incentivize people to go into that profession with higher salaries and opportunities,” said Cohen.
The $10.7 million award is equivalent to about five percent of this year’s MFD budget.