Fire Department Seeks Recruits - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/13/04

Fire Department Seeks Recruits

Firefighters are the first to respond in an emergency, but there aren't nearly enough people joining their ranks. WTOC went to the academy where Savannah trains firefighters to meet the new recruits trying to fill the need.

"If you don't think you can cut it, don't show up, you're wasting time for everybody," said recruit Sarah Marsh.

When it comes to saving somebody's life, time is of the essence. "It's a very demanding job and not everybody's made out for it," said chief trainer Tim Sendlebach.

Finding people to meet the physical as well as the psychological demands of being a firefighter is just one problem the Savannah Fire Department faces. "It makes it tough on firefighters," said Sendlebach. "You got to put in more and more time in at work, less time with their families and it plays a toll on the organization."

The other problem is finding four dozen firefighters to fill the void. Even with a relatively large class like the one we saw today, it still might not fill the firefighter shortage.

"It's the diversification of the job," said Sendlebach. "I mean you're looking at weapons of mass destruction and a lot of chemical threats that are being posed on us."

Retirement is taking its toll on the firefighter ranks as well. Finding brave men and women to step up to the challenge doesn't seem to be the problem, it's finding enough of them, which is the challenge the department hopes to overcome. 

If you are interested in becoming a firefighter for the City of Savannah, contact City of Savannah Human Resources at 651.6484.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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