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Columbia Fire & Rescue has been awarded a SAFER grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). SAFER is an acronym that stands for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response. This grant was created to provide funding directly to fire departments to increase front line emergency response staffing in communities nationwide. US Congressman Scott DeJarlais responded to this award announcement stating, “The Columbia Fire Department has some of the finest public servants working on behalf of their community. In 2018 I voted to secure more funding for the Columbia Fire Department so they would have the proper resources to serve the men and women of their city. I thank all first responders for the many sacrifices they make to ensure our safety.” Columbia Fire & Rescue was awarded $514,050. This award amount will cover salary and benefits for new emergency response staff for the next three years at no cost to the City of Columbia. Fire Chief Ty Cobb was excited to announce this grant award to City Council at yesterday evening’s council meeting. “With the recent increase in local development comes the increase in demand for emergency response,” Cobb said. “This grant allows for us to continue to provide the best possible emergency response for our citizens as we adjust to accommodate future growth.”