SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) — The city of Sharon received two grants totaling nearly $1 million Thursday and it’s all to help the fire department.

Sharon’s fire department like many others has struggled to keep firefighters on staff. City manager and fire chief Bob Fiscus said they recently received a grant that will help hire more firefighters.

“In our region, there’s a shortage of firefighters that makes it difficult to find both full-time and part-time and I think that’ll continue to be a challenge,” said Fiscus.

Fiscus says the department is fully staffed right now but the nearly $200,000 grant through FEMA will allow them to hire one more firefighter per shift resulting in four more firefighters for the department.

“Having the ability to have additional firefighters when there is a retirement or resignation, we’ll have a deeper pool to go to make sure we maintain those minimum staffing levels,” said Fiscus.

FEMA also gave the city nearly $770,000 through the Assistance to Firefighters grant that will help the department update breathing equipment which is important to protect the health of firefighters.

“Whenever we go into a hazardous condition whether that’s a house fire or something where the air has contaminants that’s something we always wear,” said Fiscus.

The department is in the process of purchasing the new equipment and using the funds. Fiscus said he’s thankful to Pennsylvania lawmakers Senator Bob Casey and Representative Mike Kelly and everyone else who lobbied for the funding.