(WHBC) – The Canton Fire Department will be swearing in 10 new firefighter/paramedics on Wednesday.

The additional staffing is made possible through the federal SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) grant program, and will bring the fire department up to 154 firefighters.

Division Chief Akbar Bennett is excited about the new personnel.

“This will allow us to open another station, and also put another full-time ambulance out in the field to protect the citizens of Canton.”

He says the additional staffing will enable the department to open up a combo unit, which will, in essence, put five medic units out on the street at one time instead of four.

“And that will decrease our response times, so when somebody calls 911, the more ambulances that are out there, the quicker we can get to them.”

Bennett thanks the mayor, deputy mayor, safety director and city council for their support in securing the grant funding.

“They’ve been 100 percent supportive of us continuing to expand our numbers.”

This is the second SAFER grant the city has gotten in the last three years.

The previous grant also enabled them to hire 10 personnel.