Published: Aug 18, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Aug 19, 2012 12:09 AM
Durham fire officials hope to hire 15 new firefighters within the next 90 days thanks to the Department of Homeland Security.
The City Council recently gave the Fire Department the go ahead to accept the $1.4 million Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant, which will enable more fire trucks to be fully staffed once the new candidates are hired and trained.
“Being awarded the SAFER Grant brings huge opportunities to our department,” Fire Chief Bruce Pagan said. “Once we hire and train these new firefighters, we will increase staffing from three firefighters to four firefighters per truck.”
The grant will also help the department comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) “2 in/2 out” federal law, which requires two firefighters outside of a structure ready to provide emergency support and in the event the two interior firefighters need to be quickly rescued.
The SAFER Grant pays for the salary and benefits of the new firefighters for their first two years while the city picks up other costs, including uniforms, training, equipment and supplies. After the two-year mark, the city will take on the full cost associated with staffing the new firefighters.
The Fire Department has a 24-hour day, rotating shift schedule. Firefighters work one 24-hour period and rest one 24-hour period until they have worked a total of five days. Then they rest for six consecutive days.
The starting salary is $33,000 with a $1,000 annual bonus paid to those fluent in Spanish or sign language, contingent on passing a fluency exam. Benefits include health insurance, dental insurance, 401 K/ 457 (3 to 8 percent employer contribution) and local government retirement pension
The department hopes to hire the new candidates by the end of September and is accepting applications through August 24.
For an application packet or to find out more about becoming a Durham firefighter, go to bit.ly/NCcNjL
or call Jeffery Bunnell, assistant chief of training with the Durham Fire Department, at 919-560-4242, ext. 19254 or by email at Jeffery.Bunnell@DurhamNC.gov
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published, broadcast or redistributed in any manner.