The Somerset Fire Department has been awarded a $430,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which will be instrumental in adding to the department's personnel.
SFD Chief Tyler Jasper previously discussed applying for the grant during Somerset Council meetings, saying that if awarded the full amount the grant would be used to hire four new firefighters.
The news was announced through joint press releases from U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Congressman Hal Rogers.
Jasper thanked both McConnell and Rogers for their efforts in securing the grant.
"The federal grant process is extremely competitive and I am very thankful that the Somerset Fire Department was able to receive this grant award. This grant will allow the Department to hire four additional full-time firefighters and will greatly increase our emergency response capability and provide the citizens of Somerset and Pulaski County with safer and more efficient fire and rescue operations," Jasper said.
He added, "We are always looking for opportunities to make Somerset and Pulaski County a better place to live."
McConnell stated that he had contacted FEMA to offer his support for SFD's application.
"It's a great privilege to partner with Kentucky's brave first responders who put themselves in harm's way to protect their neighbors, and I congratulate the Somerset Fire Department on this grant award," McConnell said.
"Bolstering the existing force with new firefighters will help protect Somerset families and continue the department's reputation for excellence. It's my responsibility to be our state's voice in Washington, and as Senate Majority Leader, I'm able to draw national attention to Kentucky's priorities, like this one. I'm grateful to Chief Jasper and the entire SFD for their commitment to serve."
Congressman Rogers also supported the measure, saying, "This is great news for the people of Somerset! Not only will additional firefighters help protect homes and businesses, but it could also improve the city's insurance rating, which will result in lower insurance premiums and more money saved."
Rogers continued, "As a senior Member of the House Appropriations Committee, I have been a long-time advocate for federal grant funding to help boost our rural fire departments and first responders. I was proud to support the Somerset Fire Department's grant application, and I applaud their success to improve fire protection for the City of Somerset."