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Genesee County’s Emergency Management Team will receive a $288,680 grant from the federal government for retention and recruitment of EMS personnel.

Senator Chuck Schumer announced the award today. The money comes from the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergengy Response (SAFER) program, which awards money to local emergency providers to strengthen their response teams.

In Genesee County, the grant money will be put towards a marketing campaign to encourage folks to join up as firefighters or EMS personnel.

Emergency Management Coordinator Tim Yaeger says the money couldn’t have come at a better time.

"We're at a point now, I wouldn't say it's critical – but it's a real challenge for volunteer fire departments and EMS agencies to recruit the adequate number of qualified individuals," Yaeger says.

The grant is being administered through Batavia’s Lake Plains Community Care Network, which works closely with heathcare providers to keep quality healthcare local.

"One of the things they looked at along with (supporting healthcare) is EMS. They are a strong supporter of that," Yaeger says. "They stepped forward...about a year ago."

Yaeger says Lake Plains Community Care is playing an important role in the grant-writing process. Most grants are awarded on a county-wide basis rather than one local municipality. But Genesee County did not have a qualifying agency to apply for and receive the grant. Lake Plains fills that gap.

The grant will be administered over a four-year period.

Just last month, a similar SAFER grant was awarded to the Akron Fire Department in Erie County. Officials there plan to use the grant money to fund college scholarships for firefighters and their families, as a recruitment tool.

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