A grant awarded to the East Naples Fire Control and Rescue District last week will allow the department to keep five current firefighters and employ four new ones.
The $1.7 million grant comes from the 2011 FEMA Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant Program. The grant will pay the full salaries and benefits of firefighters for two years, according to a news release.
The East Naples fire department has had staffing shortages in recent past, laying off nine firefighters in late October to save about $1 million. Five of the nine firefighters were rehired in December by taking about $400,000 out of reserve funds to keep them employed until September of this year.
As of Wednesday, 51 fire agencies, including five in Florida, had received similar FEMA grants, though award announcements are expected to continue through Sept. 30.