WATERFORD, Mich. -

The Waterford Regional Fire Department is raising the bar when it comes to service and safety in their community and it all started Monday with a new batch of firefighters.

The department has turned a $7.6 million SAFER grant into 39 firefighter positions.

Captain John Lyman wrote the grant proposal.

"With this grant, we're up to almost $9 million in grants since 2003. It is the biggest award in Oakland County for SAFER," he said.

This SAFER grant program is funded by the Department of Homeland Security. The latest hiring will bring the total number of firefighters serving Waterford, Pontiac and Lake Angelus to 138.

Chief Ron Spears expects measurable differences.

"We can put a lot of resources at your door step and our average response time is three and a half minutes for fires, medicals and car accidents," he said.

The new firefighters were fitted for their gear Monday.

"We can't wait to see what 2014 holds for us," Spears said.

Tune in to Local 4 News at 6 p.m. to see Ashlee Baracy go inside the firehouse.

Waterford firefighter interview