SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/KSPR) - The Springfield Fire Department is fully staffed, however, it's planning on hiring anywhere from eight to 10 new firefighters because of planned retirements later this year.
Springfield Fire Chief David Pennington explained applicants should expect some steep competition. He said there will be more than 100 applicants for the positions the department is looking to fill.
In order to be considered for an interview, applicants must first take a written and physical exam. To be eligible for those exams, applicants must have a high school diploma or GED. Applicants also must have one of the following: 36 hours from an accredited college; be certified in Firefighter I and II; be a certified EMT; or have two years of military service.
Pennington said this allows the department to be extremely diverse.
The fire chief also talked about the qualities they look for in their applicants.
"We need someone who understands customer service. We're here to serve the community. We are a 235 member customer service agency," Pennington said.
He also said they look for integrity and honesty. "The Fire Department is very well looked upon in the community, we're appreciative of that and we are guardians of that reputation."
Pennington said the service portion of the job is key because of the community outreach members do, including things like school visits and Project Red Zone.
Pennington considers Springfield one of the best places in the country to work because of the support the department gets from the community. He said this includes citizens paying taxes to make sure the department has high-functioning and up-to-date equipment.
The Fire Chief said this support also means a bright future for Springfield firefighters, especially after the Springfield City Council approved a bond Monday that will allow the department to start the design process of new fire stations.
"We're in the process now of designing those facilities, we expect to be beginning construction in a matter of months," said Pennington. He said plans also include a new fire station on West College Street and reconstructing several existing stations.
Fire Chief Pennington called the Springfield Fire Department's Training Facility second-to-none, making Springfield's firefighters some of the best in the nation.
The deadline to apply for a firefighter position with the City of Springfield is Friday, February 14. Written exams and agility testing will be March 23 and 24. Interviews will then be scheduled.