ELLSWORTH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- A federal grant has allowed one fire department in downeast Maine to hire some extra help.
The Ellsworth Fire Department was awarded more than $234,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The money came through a 'Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response' or SAFER grant.
The department has since used that money to hire two new full time firefighters. The grant will be used to pay both of their salaries through the year 2014.
Department directors say since they have to work with a tight budget each year from the city of Ellsworth, the grant is certainly appreciated.
"It's a great help to the department and we'll be able to continue some of the programs," said Kevin DePrenger, who is the deputy fire chief of the Ellsworth FD, "You start thinking about where you need to make cuts and stuff like that...there's so many different aspects to the fire service that will keep these guys going everyday."
Fire officials want to remind everyone that we are approaching National Fire Prevention Week. They recommend that you change the batteries in the smoke alarms around your home and also practice an emergency evacuation plan with your family.