Tuesday, November 21, 2017 Elyria 51°


Federal grant means laid-off firefighter can be rehired


CARLISLE TWP. — The Carlisle Township Fire Department has been awarded a $156,356 federal grant to cover the cost of hiring back a full-time firefighter for two years, Fire Chief Kevin Dembiec said today.

The money will allow the township to hire back Louis Hodge who was laid off in November, Dembiec said.

The money comes from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency SAFER grant program.

Dembiec said he learned of the grant from U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati, and alerted township trustees, who were very happy because budget cuts have resulted in several layoffs in township departments.

Carlisle Township has three full-time firefighters plus the chief to staff the department 24 hours a day, seven days a week along with part-time firefighters.

Hodge will be the fourth firefighter, who can cover shifts when other firefighters are ill, on vacation or are taking days off according to provisions in their contracts. After Hodge was laid off, Dembiec said he was on call for some of the extra shifts in addition to his regular duties.

As a condition of the grant, the township cannot lay off any firefighters during the two years of the grant, Dembiec said.

The SAFER grant program supports the hiring of firefighters and the recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters. SAFER grants are awarded directly to volunteer, combination, and career fire departments to help the departments increase the number of frontline firefighters.

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