The Southern Pines Fire Department has been recognized as one of 384 fire departments nationwide to receive the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA).
SAFER Grants were created to provide funding assistance directly to fire departments and to increase the number of trained, "front line" firefighters available in their communities. According to FEMA’s website, the goal of SAFER is to enhance the local fire departments' abilities to comply with staffing, response, and operational standards established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) (NFPA 1710 and/or NFPA 1720).
In April 2018, the Southern Pines Town Council approved for the fire department to complete a grant application to FEMA for a SAFER Grant for six career firefighters. On September 7, 2018, Southern Pines was awarded a grant for $543,668.00 dollars to be distributed over a three year period.
The Southern Pines Fire Department has seen a 14% increase in call volume since 2015. The fire department has also seen a significant increase in overlapping calls; in 2017, 22% of the fire department's calls overlapped another call. Overlapping calls decrease the availability of the primary response units to respond because they are already committed to another emergency call.
Chief Mike Cameron stated “the increase in emergency call volume has a direct correlation to our growth, both in residents and in visitors and the traveling public through our jurisdiction. The additional firefighters will have an immediate impact on our deployment capabilities and provide for a more effective response”.
The Southern Pines Fire Department provides numerous services to both the Town and The Pines Fire District; they include fire protection, medical first responder, heavy rescue, confined space rescue, trench rescue, fire prevention, and code enforcement inspections.
The Southern Pines Fire Department currently has 7 fulltime firefighters working on each shift. With the new grant this will increase the number of firefighters to 9 working per shift. The anticipated start date of the SAFER Grant Firefighters is January 2019.