The Dix Hills Fire Department is receiving a $99,000 federal grant to help recruit and train new firefighters, Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) announced.

Israel helped Dix Hills get the grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response program, known as SAFER.

"Every day our volunteer firefighters put their lives on the line to save others," Israel said in a statement on Thursday. "This critical federal funding for our local fire department will help recruit and retain firefighters to protect our homes, businesses and schools in Dix Hills from dangerous fires."

The department has about 175 volunteer firefighters, EMTs and fire police who have responded to more than 1,100 alarms since 2015.

The SAFER grant program invests an estimated $340 million in fire departments nationwide. The money goes directly to departments that need to increase the number of firefighters and supports recruiting and retention efforts.

The grants are awarded on a competitive basis to the fire departments that most closely fit the program's priorities and are based on financial need.

"This is a great award which is going to offset costs and help us to recruit and retain volunteer firefighters, cover physicals, and training for new recruits without burdening taxpayers with the extra cost," Dix Hills Fire Commissioner Larry Feld said in a statement.

The grant will be paid over four years, Feld said. The money will offset the average $2,500 cost of training new firefighters, including the $250 cost of a mandatory physical.

The funding will also supplement the cost of the department's part-time recruiter and other efforts to attract new candidates, including a quarterly newsletter and a twice-yearly open house.

Feld said he hopes to add 50 long-term firefighters with the help of the grant.

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