Conover City Council meeting on Monday

Pending City Council approval, the Conover Fire Department has been awarded a two-year grant for $226,434. The grant is a SAFER grant awarded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security which will provide the salary and benefits for three full-time firefighter positions for the two-year span.

The goal of the SAFER grant is to enhance the ability of local governments and communities to comply with staffing, response and operational standards established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFOA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Currently, these organizations recommend having a standard of 10 personnel on scene within 10 minutes of dispatch. The Conover Fire Department has an average response of seven firefighters to structural incidents.

The SAFER grant won't bring the department into full compliance with current standards, but is a step in the right direction.

The grant will expire after two years, and at that time the city will need to apply for another SAFER grant to keep the positions, consider other funding sources or reduce the service. During the recruitment and hiring process, it will be made clear that these positions are grant funded and not guaranteed after the two years.

The grant only covers benefits and salary, leaving the city obligated to provide physicals, cost of overtime, personnel protective equipment and other job related equipment and supplies to the firefighters just as they do for any member of the department.

Conover City Council will vote on whether or not to approve this grant at their monthly meeting on Monday, March 3 at 7 p.m.