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Grant money could bring 10+ new firefighters to Pueblo - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Grant money could bring 10+ new firefighters to Pueblo

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PUEBLO -

The Pueblo Fire Department is one city council vote away from solving its understaffing issue.

The fire department was awarded what's called the SAFER grant--and this is big.

It would mean $1.6 million for the city, to go toward the training of front line firefighters.

But in order for them to receive the grant, the city has to roughly match that amount and contribute just over a million dollars.

The money would pay for 11 new full-time firefighters, for a 3-year period.

After that, the city and department would have to evaluate whether to budget for those positions moving forward.

Currently, the department is short six firefighters.

That may not sound like lot, but Chief Shawn Shelton, with the Pueblo Fire Department, says his current staff have had to work a lot of overtime to cover that deficit.

"It is hard on the health and well being on our individuals to have to work that much time," Shelton explained.  

"They're already working 24 hours at a time and then it's 48 hours--48 hours of possibly being awake the entire time, 48 hours away from home, 48 hours away from family," he added.

City council has shown support for the grant so far.

They'll vote on whether to accept it in two weeks.

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