BUXTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Like many Maine towns, Buxton is struggling with increased calls for emergency services and a reduction in the number of volunteer fire fighters willing and able to answer the call for help.
"We may show up to your house, we may not be able to go in because we don't have the people to go in and fight that fire," explained Buxton Fire Chief Nate Schools.
The volunteer shortage has lead to increased response times and a reliance on surrounding communities to help them cover calls when crews are already busy responding to another incident.
To temporarily help them fill the void, the Department of Homeland Security awarded the town with a $441,460 grant that will help them overcome this critical shortage in staffing for the next two years.
"The grant was to fund four full-time positions, so that will enable us to put one more person on the street 24/7," said Schools.
"It doesn't seem like a lot, but that person can really make a decision showing up to a call initially of whether we need to call more people, to activate more volunteers, or call mutual aid, or to say, 'you know, we can really handle this call with what we have'," he explained. "So it changes the game a little bit for us. It enables us to be able to reduce call volumes."
Chief Schools says he will soon post the job openings and hopes to have the positions filled, and the new hires on the street, within the next 90 days.
"It is a fantastic feeling to be able to not increase taxes, but to be able to increase the service by adding a person," he stated.
He says the grant will give the town time to develop a more permanent solution to their current staffing problems.