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Fema Grant Keeps Firefighters

Dallas Fire & EMS hires two for daytime emergencies

DALLAS — Two seasonal firefighters hired by the city of Dallas for the summer and early fall months will be stay longer.

That is thanks to a two-year grant from FEMA’s Staffing for Adequate Emergency Response program.

The program provided Dallas Fire & EMS enough funding to hire two full-time firefighters for two years.

Fire Chief Fred Hertel said the department did a statewide search for candidates, but it didn’t have to look far.

“We found the best candidates in-house,” Hertel said.

Hertel introduced Austin Champ, a paramedic, and Jesse Friedow, an EMT, at Monday’s Dallas City Council meeting. They began working on Tuesday.

“What started out, as the chief mentioned, as seasonal employees, basically summer and early fall daytime response, turned into two years,” said City Manager Ron Foggin. “We are excited to see how they can help us because we need all the help we can get during the day, those peak hours.” 

Foggin noted many of the department’s volunteers are not available during the daytime hours due to working out of town.

Friedow and Champ, who were both volunteers previously, were hired to help through fire season and improve response times.

In other business, the council:

• Heard an update on planning for the August 2017 solar eclipse. City staff is working on a proposal to allow tent camping in Roger Jordan Community Park, near the Dallas Aquatic Center.

Campers would be able to use the showers and bathrooms at the center.

The council would have to approve using the park for that purpose.

Foggin said there are plans for selling viewing glasses and T-shirts for the event.

“We are going to have a downtown party like we’ve never had before and never going to need to have again,” Foggin said. “This is probably the biggest tourist event we will see in a long, long time.”

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