City OKs grant application

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By Mark Scohier, Staff writer

The Chiefland City Commission passed a motion Monday night that would allow the city's fire department to apply for a grant that would help it meet federal safety standards.

Fire Chief John Ward said the grant, which lasts for four years, would provide about $108,380 to hire new firefighters.

But Ward said there's no guarantee that Chiefland will get the money from a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant.

In April, Ward told the city commission that one of his biggest concerns is that with the expected potential growth, with the hospital and residential developments, Chiefland's fire protection will be inadequate.

Chiefland currently has 12 volunteers and only eight of them are certified to make entry into a hazardous atmosphere. OSHA standards mandate that two firefighters enter the area and two remain outside. Sometimes those standards are impossible to meet.

And should Chiefland grow, as predicted, the fire department will definitely not have enough firefighters.

Still, according to A.D. Goodmen, assistant fire chief, "It's a good step in the right direction for the city."

He explained that even though Chiefland may not receive a grant this time around, the mere act of applying more than once increases the federal government's awareness of the city's need.

"We're just trying to get a piece of the pie that's out there," he said.