If you've always dreamed of being a firefighter and currently live in South Dakota, Rapid City is looking for you.

Late last week, Rapid City was awarded a one million dollar federal grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Homeland Security. The grant is aimed at helping fire departments comply with national standards. The money received will help fund nine positions in the city.

Rapid City's Fire Chief Mike Maltaverne says a long-term solution to staffing woes is still needed.

According to Maltaverne, 15 additional firefighters are needed in the city to meet national standards and the emergency response needs of the city.

Rapid has seen a huge spike in fire call volume since 1995. The call volume has actually tripled from nearly 44 calls per firefighter in 95 to about 145 calls in 2016.

Maltaverne said the funding news, "Breathes a little sigh of relief into our existing employees."

The Rapid City Council has already approved to fund three new firefighter positions in their budget for 2017. Maltaverne hopes to have those new positions filled by early next year.

The new federal grant money will help fund nine firefighters for a total of two years. The continued hope is that the Rapid City Council will find additional ways to keep those new positions funded and in place after that.

The last thing Maltaverne wants to see happen is being forced to have to lay off new workers in a couple of years because the city cannot continue to fund them. As Maltaverne says, "That doesn't solve the long-term problem."

Source: Sioux City Journal

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