NORTH YARMOUTH — The Fire and Rescue Department is benefiting from a nearly $200,000 grant that in part has funded emergency medical technician training.
The $198,000 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Services, or SAFER, grant is for two years and comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Ricky Plummer, now the acting fire-rescue chief, applied for the grant last year while serving as the department’s public safety assistant.
A press release said the need for EMTs in town is demonstrated through a hike in emergency calls. The department received 248 calls last year, and could see a 20 percent increase this year based on numbers from the first six months, according to the release; 72 percent of those calls have been for emergency medical needs.
Through a free class offered from September 2012 to this February for training of entry-level EMTs, 10 new, licensed EMTs have been added to the department’s ranks, and four other trainees are working toward that goal.
The grant has also paid for Plummer and EMT Kevin O’Sullivan to received advanced EMT training.
With a year and $160,000 left on the grant, the release said Plummer plans to have personnel receive advanced training in firefighting and emergency medical services. The funding is also covering a new shower and bunk room at the station.
“This grant has been so important to the town,” Plummer said in the release. “We have been successful in reaching the goal of recruiting new personnel and providing the training they need. It has helped us remain a volunteer fire/rescue department. Without new members and the ability to train everyone, it is probable that the town would have been forced to hire fire and rescue personnel at a huge cost.”