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Dayton Fire Department wins multi million dollar grant for mental wellness and recruitment

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Dayton Fire Department.
Courtesy of Dayton Fire Department

The Dayton Fire Department will receive a multi-million dollar grant through the Ohio First Responder, Recruitment, Retention and Resilience Program launched by Governor DeWine.

This money will go toward recruiting more firefighters and expanding mental wellness programs for DFD personnel.

Last year, the fire department responded to over 40,000 incidents, the highest in its history. That’s 2000 more cases than 2017, the second highest year ever.

With the $5.8 million grant, the DFD will hire 30 more firefighters.

Brad French is with the fire department. He said this grant couldn't have come at a better time.

"It is in our staffing matrix to make sure that we're providing adequate response coverage across the city Of Dayton,”nFrench said. "It's really a win-win for all involved, both our members and the citizens.” 

A key part of the grant is the mental wellness program, which includes hiring a full-time wellness coordinator for staff. 

According to the American Psychological Association, firefighters are more at risk for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder than the general population. They say 20% of firefighters pass the threshold for PTSD, compared to 6.8% in the general population.

The wellness program will provide mental health support to firefighters through regular counseling services and peer support resources.

Ngozi Cole is the Business and Economics Reporter for WYSO. She graduated with honors from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York and is a 2022 Pulitzer Center Post-Graduate Reporting Fellow. Ngozi is from Freetown, Sierra Leone.