COLUMBUS — Governor Mike DeWine announced on Thursday, Nov. 3, 62 local first responder agencies will receive a total of $9.9 million to help support the wellness and staffing needs of Ohio’s first responders.
Three Preble County fire and EMS departments will receive a combined total over $1 million to fund staffing and programming.
The grants represent the fourth round of the new Ohio First Responder Recruitment, Retention, and Resilience Program. To date, Governor DeWine has awarded $20.9 million to 117 Ohio agencies as part of this program, which aims to address burnout caused by understaffing as well as overall job stress.
“When there is an emergency, we all count on the fact that someone will be there to respond to the call for help,” said Governor DeWine. “The programming and supports funded through this grant program will support first responders’ wellness needs so they remain on the job and are there when we need them.”
A total of approximately $75 million will be awarded to law enforcement agencies, dispatch centers, fire departments, and emergency medical services agencies as part of this program in coming months.
Local departments receiving grant funding as part of the fourth round of the Ohio First Responder Recruitment, Retention, and Resilience Program include:
• Camden Somers Township Fire & Rescue will receive $56,100 for peer support training. personnel, a wellness coordinator position, and a mental wellness educational event.
• Gasper Township Fire/EMS will receive $265,991 to hire three part-time firefighters/EMT paramedics and to offer wellness evaluations and follow-up sessions for all personnel.
• Gratis EMS will receive $845,104.51 to hire three full-time paramedics, one full-time advanced EMT, three part-time EMTs, and three part-time paramedics.
The Ohio First Responder Recruitment, Retention, and Resilience Program is administered by the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. The program awards funding for initiatives that support wellness programs addressing mental, physical, and emotional health issues unique to first responders; recruitment and retention efforts to restore workforce levels; onboarding and training costs; and explorer programs to engage young adults about first responder careers. The $75 million in funding to be awarded as part of the program includes approximately $1.3 million that was awarded to several statewide service providers in June.