Posted: Aug 23, 2017 10:06 PM EST Updated: Aug 23, 2017 10:14 PM EST
By: Marty Kasper, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma –
Tulsa Firefighters have been busy the last few years.
They’re down 30 positions, and anytime someone is on vacation or injured, it triggers overtime. That cost has reached into the millions.
“Overtime has hurt us for the last several years,” said Tulsa Fire Captain Stan May.
But the nearly $6 million FEMA SAFER grant will start to change that.
“With this grant, we will be able to hire all 60 of them up front,” said May.
The plan is to hire the fire fighters in the next year. Originally, the city was going to fill those spots over the next several years using vision sales tax money.
“That sales tax money, it’s just starting to come in,” May stated. “So, we couldn’t hire all 60 of them; it would have taken at least three years.”
The grant means that more of the department’s lockers will be filled. There will be more firefighters on each truck, responding faster, helping you in an emergency
“It’s going to cut down on the overtime, cut down on the injuries,” said May.
It’s welcomed help, as three-man teams can get bogged down setting up to battle fires before being able to get to victims.
The national standard is to have four fire fighters on each truck 24-7, something Tulsa doesn’t have.
“This is going to allow us to put four men on a truck in the outlying areas of town,” said May.
Helping not just Tulsans but the 20 neighboring cities and towns that call on Tulsa for help for large fires.
“More people on the fire scene, quicker, it helps everybody,” said May.
After the grant runs out, the vision tax will fund the firefighters and keep staffing levels up.
Applications for these new spots will be accepted later this year.