The federal government is providing $22.9 million so the Philadelphia Fire Department can hire 160 new firefighters, reports 6abc.com (http://6abc.cm/1Iah108)
It’s a major victory for the department, which has had to pay huge overtime costs because of a shortage of firefighters.
Philadelphia firefighters responded to almost 50,000 fire calls in 2014, up from more than 44,000 in 2013.
Due to attrition and other factors, the 2100-member department loses 80-110 firefighters each year.
To make up for it, the city spends millions of dollars in overtime. Last year alone, it paid $37.6 million to have firefighters work extra hours.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awarded the money as part of its federal “Adequate Fire and Emergency Response” program.
Under the provisions of the grant, all 160 must be hired within the next two years.