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Salinas Fire Department receives $4.7 million from FEMA to help boost staffing

City of Salinas

SALINAS, Calif. (KION-TV)- FEMA awarded $4.7 million to The Salinas Department to help boost their staffing as call volumes increase. The grant is part of FEMA’s Staffing for Adequate Firefighter Response or “SAFER” Program.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, Salinas City Council approved the fire department’s Long-Term Master Plan as a roadmap for helping the fire department keep up with the city’s growth.

“Salinas firefighters now respond to over 16,000 calls per year with firefighter staffing below 2006 levels when the department responded to just over 9,000 calls per year,” says Salinas Fire Chief Samuel Klemek. “Our total response workload has increased 29.8% over the past seven years alone.” 

Klemek adds that 5.1% of that increase was between 2020 and 2022 and related to homelessness. The city said Salinas has 0.58 firefighters per 1,000 residents which is far below the national median of 1.2 firefighters per 1,000 residents.

City leaders said the extra staffing will allow the fire department to put more resources on the streets, reduce response times, and help firefighters operate as safely and effectively as possible. Which will also allow the fire department to pilot alternative response models that could help relieve the pressure.

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Ana Torrea

Weekend Anchor/Reporter for KION News Channel 5/46


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