LANSING, Mich. — As the City of East Lansing grows, the skyline downtown changes with it and that poses new challenges for firefighters.
Mackenzie Lenk lives in East Lansing. She said, "New buildings, apartments, skycrapers, it's very cool, its like modernizing our little small town."
As more people move to downtown East Lansing, the buildings, get taller.
And a larger and more dense population increases the risk of fires and high-rises pose a challenge for firefighters, especially when they're understaffed.
Leo Allaire, the East Lansing Fire Department spokesperson said, "Our department runs about 6,000 calls per year. So the call volume that we have with the amount of individuals that we have on duty, is pretty strenuous on our department."
So to better their response capabilities, the department got a FEMA grant of more than $460,000 to be given over a three-year period.
With the money they'll hire and retain three new firefighters, that will bring the number of firefighters on the job at any given moment from 11 to 12.
"It's always beneficial to have as many firefighters on scene within the first minutes as possible because that's when you're going to make a difference."
The city also purchased a 101-foot platform truck that could reach up to the 9th floor.
The truck cost around a million dollars and they expect to get that in October.
"It has a bucket on the end of it so it's safer for firefighters.It's more stable if we're rescuing people from windows or high-rise buildings."
Allaire says the grant helps... but they still need more manpower.
The grant only pays for the extra firefighters for three years.
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