Fresno Fire Department calling for trainees

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Fresno City Fire Chief hopes a recent hiring trend can continue into next year.

The call for firefighting trainees is drawing a lot of interest. Fresno fire crews on average have a structure fire to deal with every day. Captain Brian Price said, "You get a lot of incredibly valuable experience in a relatively short amount of time." That makes Fresno a popular spot for firefighters who want to stay active.

Price explained, "We're a working department. We fight a lot of fire here in Fresno and that's something that really tends to attract people from around the state. that creates a dynamic where it's incredibly competitive."

The week-long hiring window for a firefighter trainee opens October 26th. Applicants typically eye departments around the state.

Chief Kerri Donis said, "A lot of folks are competing for the same candidates," It's the first time in 8 years funds have been available to fill this trainee position. Donis said, "There's been a lack of hiring throughout the state because of the economic downturn so you have a lot of qualified folks looking for jobs and are pretty eager so we're going to tap into that pool."

The job pays $53,000. Candidates must have completed a fire academy and possess a CPR and CPAT card.

In June the Fresno Fire Department added 13 new firefighters. All were lateral hires from different departments but now there's room for more. Battalion chief Javier Lara said, "It's a breath of fresh air to have new bodies coming in here. of course through the unfortunate issues in the past that we've had with finances and the recession we've had to downsize but now it's definitely looking up."

The salary range for Fresno firefighters ranges from $58-75,000 with full benefits. Chief Donis said her department will apply for grant funding in January which could provide funds for at least two more firefighters.
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