Grant helps Bernalillo add more firefighters

Morgan Aguilar
September 18, 2017 09:00 AM

BERNALILLO, N.M. -- The Bernalillo Fire Department currently has nine firefighters, but soon they'll have 13.


That may sound small, but Chief Mike Carroll said the more than 30 percent increase will make a huge difference.

"It'll get us to where we need to be staffing-wise and, you know, be able to provide better service to the community," he said. "Better response improves responder safety."

A year ago, the department went through a survey that the state uses to determine how much money each fire department gets. It showed the Bernalillo Fire Department was understaffed.

Carroll said he used the survey results to help convince the federal government that they need help.

"It's a very competitive grant program," he said. "We're competing with departments like Los Angeles, New York, Detroit,"

Carroll persisted. He found out Sept. 1 that they'll receive more than $500,000 to hire four more firefighters, helping them cover the nearly five square miles in their jurisdiction.

"We'll be able to have both stations manned all the time and also will have a unit available on either side of the river," Carroll said.

It'll also take some of the weight off Sandoval County firefighters, who often help them respond to calls. Carroll said he plans to keep applying for grants, expanding the department and ensuring the safety of as many New Mexicans as possible.


Morgan Aguilar

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