Gov. Shutdown Delays SE Thurston Fire Grant

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Southeast Thurston Fire Authority commissioners authorized the transfer of about $114,000 of general funds to cover expenses within the authority’s SAFER volunteer grant that hasn’t received funding this year due to the partial government shutdown. 

SAFER, or Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grants, are federally granted funds distributed by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) to fire departments and organizations to help them maintain firefighter training. 

Fire chief Mark King said the authority uses the funds for volunteer recruitment and retention. Southeast Thurston Fire are covered by about $400,000 in SAFER grants over the next four years. Grant sourcing is an important resource to local fire jurisdictions. 

“Knowing that the likelihood of reimbursement is really high, we could safely run it for several months,” King said. 

The federal government is not currently processing the SAFER grants due to the partial federal government shutdown, now entering its fifth week. Despite not knowing the longevity of the shutdown, King said he would feel comfortable continuing to transfer funds to support the program. 

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