GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - It could be good news for local fire departments and the communities they serve. Senator Gary Peters has introduced legislation to make it easier to promote men and women already trained and serving part-time.
It's called the Firefighters Retention Act of 2017 and was introduced this week by Peters, a Democrat, and Republican, Susan Collins of Maine.
So what's the change? The bill, if made law, will give fire departments across the country the ability to use federal SAFER grants to promote part-time or paid-on-call personnel to full-time.
SAFER stands for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response. Currently, those grants can only be used to bring on new employees.
We spoke with Senator Peters about the bill.
"What it says quite simply is that if you are a firefighter working in that department and fully trained, SAFER grants can be used to put you into full-time status," explained Sen. Peters.
The change could save departments thousands of dollars in hiring and training expenses. The plan has passed the senate committee and now goes to the full floor.
Read more about the bill here.
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