CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. - Six new firefighters have joined the ranks of the Cathedral City Fire Department. It's a story we first reported in September when the department got a grant for $1.4 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The department was one of about 20 fire stations across California to receive the grant from FEMA. That money was used to hire six firefighter paramedics.
"We'll be able to achieve more work with greater accountability and safety. And it's going to reduce our response times," said Battalion Chief Eric Hauser.
Hauser said in the 30 years he's worked at the department, he's never seen six firefighters hired at the same time. With these additional crews the department will now have three-person staffing on the fire engines.
"It's going to improve our safety and efficiency on the fire ground and it's going to improve the safety of the community and our personnel as well," Hauser said.
The chief said their growth is in line with the city they protect.
"It's exciting and it's great to see the city is doing well. The city is growing and when that happens there's trickle down happens. The police department gets upstaffed. The fire department gets upstaffed. Positions at city hall get replaced," Hauser said.