LINCOLN–(News Release Sept. 28)–Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and Lincoln Fire Rescue (LFR) Chief Dave Engler today announced that the City of Lincoln has been awarded a federal grant to help pay for 18 additional firefighters/paramedics. The three-year, $5.9 million Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant is provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“This SAFER award is an important step in making Lincoln an even safer community,” said Mayor Gaylor Baird. “By adding 18 first responders to our team at LFR, we bolster our commitment to public safety and enhance our efforts to ensure the well-being of our entire community.”

Chief Engler said SAFER grants are intended to help fire departments provide the highest level of safety and service for their communities by ensuring four responders are on every engine and truck in service as much of the time as possible. The 18 new staff members will allow LFR to restore the pool of personnel available to fill positions that would have had to be covered by employees on overtime.

“This funding supports our continued focus on strengthening LFR ranks with exceptional personnel ensures that our first responders can carry out their duties to the best of their abilities, with the necessary resources to continue to keep Lincoln safe,” Engler said.

The grant covers salaries of the new personnel and the 18 firefighter/paramedics are expected to begin service in spring 2024. LFR last received a $2.2 million SAFER grant in 2018 to help pay for 15 additional firefighters/paramedics.

City Council Chairperson Tom Beckius thanked FEMA for the grant and reiterated the City’s focus on public safety.

“Through this SAFER grant, we are excited about this investment in LFR, and the new firefighters and paramedics to join the ranks,” Beckius said. “These new first responders will join the already strong emergency response team and continue to meet the needs of our growing community.”

Lincoln Fire and Rescue is a combined fire and emergency services department, which responds to all 911 calls in Lincoln and in nearby communities that contract with LFR. Lincoln Fire and Rescue has received the Mission Lifeline Award from the American Heart Association for nine consecutive years.

More information on LFR is available at