U.S. Congressman John R. Carter (TX-31) announced Tuesday that the Killeen Department has been awarded a $4.4 million grant to help increase and maintain the number of front line firefighters in the community.

The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant awarded by the Department of Homeland Security will fully fund salaries and benefits for 37 new fire positions for two years.

“This is great for the city of Killeen and the broader Fort Hood community," Carter said Tuesday. "As the home to the Great Place, one of the world’s largest and most deployed military installations, these funds will ensure the families of our brave soldiers are protected while they are deployed and that they return home to a safe and thriving community. These funds will provide more jobs,  many of which could provide opportunities for our veterans who may be transitioning out of the military but want to stay in Central Texas.”

Killeen Fire Department received a previous SAFER grant announced by Congressman Carter in 2006, which funded 18 new firefighter positions. Fire Chief J.D. Gardner said the latest grant will provide much needed funding to staff Fire Station #9 in service to southwest Killeen and parts of Fort Hood.

“Receiving the funding now will allow us to begin training personnel so they will be ready for the new station’s opening in early 2017," Gardner said.