TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett has announced that the Tulsa Fire Department has been awarded a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response [SAFER] grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
In a news release from the city of Tulsa, the $4,238,856 grant will be used to hire 46 new firefighters to replace those lost through attrition in the past few years.
The City of Tulsa received confirmation of the award Thursday from both Senator Jim Inhofe's office and from Congressman John Sullivan's office.
"The administration and the leadership of the Tulsa Fire Department applied for this grant in 2010 to help keep our fire protection public safety at its highest possible level," Mayor Dewey Bartlett said. "Given the effects of the recession on our ability to maintain the superior fire protection services offered by the Tulsa Fire Department, I believe applying for this grant was in Tulsa's best interest. Our request has been granted, thanks to help from Congressman John Sullivan and Senator Jim Inhofe."
"I am pleased to announce that FEMA has awarded much needed federal grant funding to the Tulsa Fire Department to assist with the recruitment and training of our first responders," Congressman John Sullivan said. "I am thrilled to learn that this grant will be used to create 46 new jobs for Tulsa firefighters. I would like to thank the men and women of the Tulsa Fire Department for their hard work and tireless dedication in protecting our community, and I am proud we were able to secure these funds to help increase the strength and capability of our fire emergency response team."
The two-year grant program provides wages for the firefighters, and the City of Tulsa is to provide training and equipment for them.
The release says training will occur within the next 90 days.
Under terms of the grant, after two years, Tulsa will not be required to retain the firefighters if the local economic conditions do not allow.
President of IAFF Local 176 Dennis Moseby reacted to the news.
"The recent snow storms have been perfect examples of how vital our firefighters are to public safety. Because we are so short on staffing, many of our members have been working 48-hour days responding to everything from fires to towing emergency vehicles to responding to medical needs in the community," said Dennis Moseby, president of IAFF Local 176. "The SAFER grant allows us to get to our citizens even faster in critical times of need. We are proud to have collaborated with the City of Tulsa to make this a possibility."