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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina is getting a federal grant to hire 900 new firefighters across the state.

The South Carolina State Firefighters' Association says it has received a $1.5 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The money has been allocated under the Staffing for Adequate Fire Management Response Program. The funds go directly to local departments to help them increase or maintain the number of front-line firefighters.

Officials say the grant will fund 900 new firefighters in mostly rural areas. The association also plans to help pay for entry-level physicals and personal protective equipment.

The money will also go toward hiring a retention coordinator. The grant concludes in five years.

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