Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue wins federal grant for new firefighters |

Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue wins federal grant for new firefighters

Daily News staff report

The Federal Emergency Management Administration last week awarded Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue a $355,000 “Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response” grant that will add three new full-time firefighters to the department’s front lines.

“This is like winning the lottery,” said LDFR Deputy Chief Jeff Berino, who spearheaded the department’s application for the highly competitive grant. “This will allow us to bring our staffing levels up to full four-person crews at all three of our stations, and a paramedic on each shift at each station.”

The so-called “SAFER” grant program was created to provide funding directly to fire departments to help them increase the number of trained, “frontline” firefighters

In their communities, according to FEMA officials. In particular, SAFER grants are designed to enhance local fire departments’ abilities to comply with staffing, response and operational standards established by the National Fire Protection Association and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. SAFER grants are intended to improve response times, efficiency and firefighter safety by allowing departments to attain full staffing on each crew.

Lake Dillon was one of only three fire departments in Colorado – along with Steamboat Springs and Loveland – and one of only 48 fire departments in the country awarded grants totaling $210 million for the first round of awards in the 2009 cycle. FEMA received a total of 2,128 applications, including 47 from Colorado, seeking a total of $1.25 billion.

The grant will cover salaries and benefits for three full-time firefighters for two years; under the terms of the grant, Lake Dillon Fire will be responsible for keeping the positions filled for one additional year and will provide additional training for the firefighters. Berino hopes to have the new firefighters hired and on board by the end of June.

“This is a terrific grant for us to receive, and it will be a great boost to our forces,” Berino said.

For more information on the SAFER grant program, visit

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