RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Rapid City's fire chief says a shortage of firefighters in the city of 74,000 people is "significant."

Chief Mike Maltaverne says the department needs 15 more personnel to meet national standards and the emergency response needs of the city. He says Rapid City's fire call volume has tripled since 1995, from about 44 calls per firefighter to about 145 calls.

The Rapid City Journal reports that the City Council recently approved budget transfers to fund three new firefighter positions, but only for six months.

Maltaverne this week got approval from a city committee to apply for a $1 million federal grant that could fund nine firefighters for two years. The City Council must also agree. That could happen Monday.

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