DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A staffing shortage felt by many industries right now is also impacting fire departments. Several departments in the Miami Valley are searching for firefighters.
The Riverside Fire Department is looking to hire four to six part-time firefighters.
Fire Chief Daniel Stitzel said over the past few years, it’s become more and more challenging to fill firefighter positions.
“I remember 25 years ago, you’d have one opening and end up with like 100 applicants, now if I have four openings, I may be lucky if I get 10 applicants for those four openings,” Stitzel said.
The Riverside Fire Department is looking for applicants who have their Firefighter-I and EMT Basic certifications.
Stitzel said part-time firefighter positions are a usually revolving door with a high turnover rate, and that even impacts their full-time staff.
“Once we get everyone trained up and they’re working really well, and then they leave, we’ve got to start all back over,” Stitzel said. “So even my full-time staff, I can’t really get then past that basic training level to where we get into more advanced training because they’re also having to go back and start over with a new batch of part-time people.”
The Dayton Fire Department is also hiring new full-time recruits.
“If you’re someone who has an interest in public service and you have a good moral character, that’s the kind of person we need,” public information officer Cpt. Brad French said.
French said fire departments rely on having enough people on staff to respond to emergencies.
“Firefighting and EMS are both very personnel-sensitive activities, so we need people and we need people that are well-trained, that have a good attitude, that are ready to do this job,” French said.
During this round of hiring, the Dayton Fire Department hopes to attract more applicants from diverse backgrounds.
“One of our goals with recruiting during this cycle is to try get an applicant pool that is more diverse and really reflects the makeup of the community a little bit more,” French said.
While dealing with the staffing shortage, Stitzel said fire departments depend on mutual aid from surrounding agencies, and that need for outside help could get worse if hiring does not improve.
“Kind of a regional approach at helping each other out is what we’re doing. I foresee that continuing and maybe even getting more so,” Stitzel said.
To apply to the Riverside Fire Department, email your application to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to 1791 Harshman Rd. Riverside, OH 45424.
The Dayton Fire Department is accepting applications now through February 20. For more information on how to apply, click here.