DALLAS — Back Mountain Regional Fire & EMS received a funding boost from a Department of Homeland Security grant to increase emergency personnel staffing.
A grant of $218,000 from Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program was awarded to the Back Mountain Regional Fire & EMS Wednesday, according to a news release from Congressman Lou Barletta’s office.
“This grant will go a long way toward helping Back Mountain Regional Fire and EMS attract more and more dedicated public servants to protect their fellow citizens in the Dallas area,” Barletta said in a written news release.
The SAFER program is designed to assist fire departments financially to train existing and recruit new front-line emergency services personnel.
In November 2015, Barletta (R-Hazleton) toured one of the three Back Mountain Regional Fire & EMS stations with Fire Chief Harry Vivian.
During the tour, Barletta learned the statewide trend of diminishing volunteer firefighters extends into Luzerne County.
The volunteer fire department established in 2013 has 10 full-time employees and 20 part-time firefighters in three stations located at 184 E. Center Hill Road in Dallas Township; 23 Firehouse Road in Lehman Township and 170 N. Main St. in Shavertown, covering nearly 30,000 residents in the Back Mountain region.
In 2015, volunteer firefighters responded to 349 calls and the EMS had 2,879 calls, according to the Back Mountain Fire & EMS website.
“Our fire departments and emergency responders are the first line of defense in our neighborhoods when disaster strikes,” Barletta said. “We must do anything we can do to help people be safe in our communities.”