A new grant is making a world of difference for one Brevard County Fire Department — a difference they haven’t seen since the mid 80’s.

  • 9 new recruits hired to Titusville Fire thanks to grant
  • First time dept. has been able to increase staffing since 1985
  • Dept. now employs 60 firefighters

Cheyne Wilson didn’t always know he wanted to be a firefighter, but now after rigorous training with the Titusville Police Department, he wouldn’t have chosen anything else.

“It’s like a light bulb went off in my head, and I knew I wanted to be a firefighter and make [a] difference in people’s lives,” Wilson said.

He’s certainly making a difference for the department as well, and a historical one at that — he’s one of nine new recruits hired on to the Titusville Fire Department.

This is the first time since 1985 they’ve been able to increase their staffing. It’s all thanks to the $1.5 million dollar S.A.F.E.R (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) Grant.

“This is going to make a significant reduction in the firefighters having to multitask on scene,” said Chief Michael Woodward. “They’re going to be able to be much more focused.”

This is something the department says they desperately needed. Their call volume has increase, from around 2,500 a year in the mid 80’s, to now more than 10,000 calls a year.

“On an average we average about 4 minutes for response times on calls,” Chief Woodward said. “We are hoping with this new squad in service and additional personnel, this will help us maintain that response time with the growth we have in the city, if not even lower that response time.”

With those additional nine recruits, the department now employs 60 firefighters. This will add an additional three people per shift.

“At the end of the day it all comes down to safety, and the more personnel we have on the field, the safer we’ll be, and the more we’ll be able to achieve and help people every day,” Wilson said.

The Safer Grant is made up of more than $900,000 in federal funding with the rest coming from city funding.