North Charleston Fire Department adds 15 firefighters, two engines to respond to growing city

NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - The city of North Charleston is putting its money where its safety is.

In February, city council members approved a three-year, $1.8 million grant, called SAFER, or Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants.

The FEMA program was created to increase or maintain the number of trained, "front line" firefighters available in U.S. communities.

The grant funds created 15 firefighting positions in North Charleston, all of which were filled in April.

The new hires were scheduled to appear before city council late Thursday, beginning their new posts in August.

"We want to be ahead of schedule," said councilman Bob King.

"We're up to over 100,000 people now. It keeps growing every year."

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2010-2013, the city has seen a population boom of nearly 7,000 people.

Early Thursday, city officials unveiled its response to the upward trend, unveiling its near million-dollar investment: two 750-gallon tank fire engines, purchased through the municipal budget.

"These trucks are a tangible reminder of strong support of public safety from Mayor Summey and members of North Charleston city Council," added Fire Chief Greg Bulanow.

According to North Charleston Fire Department spokeswoman Bianca Bourbeau, the city averages close to 1500 calls each month, with an estimated response time of four minutes or less.

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