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RACINE — The Racine Fire Department has been awarded a $2,743,227 competitive grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The funds will be used to hire nine new firefighters.

The program, called Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants (SAFER), was created to provide funding directly to fire departments to help them increase or maintain the number of trained front-line firefighters available in their communities. The SAFER Grants program was established in 2015.

In the current grant cycle, just three Wisconsin fire departments were awarded SAFER grants. The others were Wausau and New Berlin.

Racine Fire Department today

Racine Fire Department, which dates back to 1843, is currently staffed by 128 professionals and four civilian support positions based in six fire stations. The department handled 12,348 calls for service in 2021.

“As mayor, the health and wellbeing of our residents is the top priority. Levy limit restrictions put in place by the state have severely restricted the city’s ability to fund additional emergency service personnel,” Racine Mayor Cory Mason said in a news release. “I am thankful to have partners in the federal government who know the importance of enhancing our ability to provide improved emergency services.”

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Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...