Lexington KY fire dept. to hire firefighters with $4.2M grant

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Lexington Fire Department Fire Station No. 24 houses Engine 24 and Tanker 1 on Magnolia Springs Drive in Lexington, Ky., Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019.

Lexington Fire Department Fire Station No. 24 houses Engine 24 and Tanker 1 on Magnolia Springs Drive in Lexington, Ky., Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019.

rhermens@herald-leader.com

The Lexington Fire Department plans to fire 21 new firefighters after being given $4.2 million via a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant.

The money will cover the cost of the additional firefighters for three years, according to the fire department. The department currently has 50 vacancies, with 32 recruits expected to complete their academy training in mid-October.

The fire department said the grant will help ensure that the department is maintaining operational safety standards, minimizing firefighter burnout and reducing the risk of injuries and illnesses due to the fatigue that results from longer shifts.

“Ultimately, a safe work environment is a vital condition of employment,” Fire Chief Jason Wells said. “Labor, management, and the city have worked together to ensure our firefighters remain as safe as possible. This funding will have an immediate impact on reducing risk to both firefighters, and the community.”

The fire department currently has 599 firefighters on staff, officials said. The fire department said the additional 21 firefighters will allow the department’s preventative services, such as community paramedicine, community risk reduction, fire inspections and fire investigations, to continue as intended.

“Public safety is my top priority,” Mayor Linda Gorton said in a news release. “This grant will make our community safer.”

Chris Leach is a breaking news reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. He joined the newspaper in September 2021 after previously working with the Anderson News and the Cats Pause. Chris graduated from UK in December 2018.
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