A discussion was held at last night’s Big Spring City Council meeting on the possible termination of the SAFER Grant from FEMA and the reimbursement of monies received to date. The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant was created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, "front line" firefighters available in their communities.
The goal of SAFER is to enhance the local fire departments' abilities to comply with staffing, response and operational standards established by the National Fire Protection Association.
In September 2019 it was announced that the City of Big Spring had received the SAFER Grant that would allow the City of Big Spring to hire 10 additional firefighters. During last night’s meeting, it came to light that the City had received over $20,000 in grant money, but the 10 firefighters had not yet been hired. According to City Attorney Andrew Hagen, this puts the City in violation of federal grant rules.
All council members stated that they approved of the City fully funding their portion of the SAFER grant which would come out to approximately $800,000 over the course of 3 years. Ultimately, the council unanimously approved a motion to bring the item back to the next meeting with the intention to fully fund the SAFER Grant.