HATTIESBURG, MS - The Hattiesburg Fire Department is preparing its next set of recruits before their big physical test in Jackson.
"Out of a 10 step process this is the 8th step," Director of Fire Training Robert Stephens said.
Before they enter the academy, they will go through the Candidate Physical Ability test on Sept. 20 in Jackson.
This test has the recruits go through physical exercises like carrying a body manikin, crawling through tunnels and running a hose.
"Seeing all these other guys out here trying their hardest and trying to help support them and motivate them gives me all the drive in the world," said Murphy Pace, a fire recruit.
The Hattiesburg Fire Department wants to add 15 firefighters to the department, and it currently has a staff of 90 employees and wants to fill 120 spots.
"It is harder to find people to do this type of work because it is very strenuous and demanding of your time," Stephens said.
However, several recruits are still eager to start a career as a firefighter.
"I want to contribute to that, I want to be a part of the bigger picture to help these people," Pace said.
The department will start its fire academy in October and will look for more recruits next year in June.