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Jackson Fire Department awarded $1 million to fill staff shortage

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 5:15 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) -Across the nation Fire Departments are facing shortages in staff. The city of Jackson is taking steps to solve the issue with a million dollar grant awarded to them by the Department of Homeland Security. They were chosen to receive this grant because they are so short staffed they have to combine efforts with other departments to put out most house fires. This shortage is impacting response times and firefighter safety.

“It’s created a lot of new challenges for us to figure out different ways to get the same thing accomplished with less resources,” said Fire Chief David Wooden.

Often the Jackson Fire Department has to call firefighters after their work day is done to get more bodies.

“We’re depending a lot more on our call back off duties so when the guys go home they may not necessarily be off that day they may be called back for a fire,” said Wooden.

Wooden worries firefighters’ health is on the line when they work overtime.

“I’m worried about their health because getting up multiple times at night for different calls, the long periods of boredom punctuated by crisis, in other words you jump to a structure fire with kids trapped. That is very tough on our hearts,” said Wooden.

Jackson Mayor Derek Dobies tells News 10 he wants this to not be a temporary fix but a long term solution in having a full staff at the fire department.

“I think it will save the city money in the long run by the fact that we’ll have better quality service because we’ll have more guys it will be safer,” said Dobies.

The Jackson Fire Department says they are excited to get more firefighters as a large number of them begin to retire. The City Council will make a final decision on approving the grant during their next meeting September 28th.

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