Paragould, AR (KAIT) - "Anytime you can add manpower, it's a great thing," said Paragould Fire Chief, Kevin Lang. The Paragould Fire Department is getting to do just that. Something they haven't done, Paragould Fire Chief Kevin Lang, says since 2003.
"We haven't added numbers to our staff--we've just replaced attrition. We replace retirements, things like that. This is going to actually put more guys on the scene," said Lang.
Thanks to a federal grant, the Paragould Fire Department will get around $315,000 to add three new firefighters to it's staff. That's an addition of one firefighter per shift.
"Which in the end will make the scene evolve quicker. It's going to make it safer for the people we're protecting, as well as safer for the guys that are doing the job," said Lang.
Lang says they currently have 28 firefighters on staff and aren't going to waste any time or money getting the new firefighters hired, trained, and in the field fighting fires.
"Within the next two weeks begin the process of going through applications, scoring applications and starting the process. As far as actually putting them on, and putting them to work, we're probably looking at the first or second week of November," said Lang.
The program allowing Paragould to hire these new officers is funded by FEMA.
The programs allow for the growth of departments that are awarded the grant money--with a goal of protecting the health and safety of the public when and if a fire strikes.
"It gives us more guys on scene to do more things at one time," said Lang.