Medina using grant to add 4 firefighter positions

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 September 2017 at 10:45 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Medina firefighters were part of a mass casualty drill on Sept. 16 in Barre.

MEDINA – The Medina Fire Department is adding four firefighter positions that will be mostly paid for with a federal grant.

The new recruits will go to the firefighter training academy in February and are expected to be working full-time in Medina in May, said Fire Chief Tom Lupo.

Medina on Aug. 31 was approved for a $530,661 to boost the staffing for the department that handles about 3,000 calls a year. The new firefighters will reduce overtime costs in the department, and also allow Medina to improve service, especially when ambulances and staff are occupied with transports, taken patients from Medina to hospitals in Buffalo or Rochester, Lupo said.

“There has been a huge increase in call volume,” he said. We also have longer travel times to Rochester and Buffalo hospitals. This will really take care of some of the overtime.”

The grant pays 100 percent of the training and equipment for the four new firefighters, and covers 65 percent of the salaries the first year. That percentage will decrease over three years. The fourth year, the village will have to pay 100 percent of the cost.

However, Lupo said Medina isn’t obligated to keep the four firefighters after the grant expires in three years.

The department currently has 16 firefighters and will go to 20. Lupo said Medina is vulnerable to losing some of its staff to larger departments. Three firefighters have left recently, with two going to Batavia and one to Lockport.

U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced the grant for Medina on Aug. 31.

The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants (SAFER), established by FEMA within the Department of Homeland Security, was created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase the number of trained, “front line” firefighters available in their communities.

The four new firefighters in Medina will support the department’s “Fast Team,” who are responsible not only for fires in Medina but also address fires outside of their district within Orleans County. The funding will also help Medina staff engines with more than two people.

The Fire Department will have its annual open house this Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with games focusing on fire prevention, a food truck from Mariachi De Oro and a visit from the Mercy Flight. The community will also have a chance to meet the Medina firefighters.

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