HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - City officials held a press conference today in an effort to gain more applicants for the Hattiesburg Fire Department.
The department is slotted for 123 firefighters, and is currently operating with roughly 113, according to city officials.
"These are everyday heroes, and there's always room for one more to come and join our ranks," said Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker.
Barker said the department is operating with less firefighters than the department is allotted for, and boosting manpower is a big concern of the city leaders.
"Our vision for this department is to grow, as our city continues to grow as we add another fire station on Highway 49, we're going to need more men and women to step forward into this role," Barker said.
Hattiesburg Fire Chief Paul Presley said an addition of a new station will take another 12 firefighters.
"The city is constantly growing, but then you know, we are in the process of building a new Station 9, so that's another 12 firefighters in the future," Presley said.
"The city is committed to stepping forward to meet some long unmet needs in this department, and the question we have for those young men and women out there looking for an opportunity, is do you want to be part of that, because we need you here," Barker said.
The academy is set to start in February 2018, and applications will be accepted through Jan. 26, 2018.
"You want to have enough manpower to be able to address issues, like when we had the tornado, it stretches our manpower thin, cause a lot of times we get there," Presley said. "We do a good job with the guys we have on shift now and we gone continue to do our job, but, with those extra men, with enough people we can actually do a better job of what we've got to do."
"I would just say a quiet strength captures the entire character of this department," Barker said. "This is the place you want to build a career and a life."
Requirements to apply for the 2018 Academy include:
- Be at least 18 years of age or older.
- Be a United States citizen.
- Have a high school diploma or GED.
- Be free of any felony or other serious criminal background.
- Reside within 10 miles of Hattiesburg city limits or relocate within six months of employment.
- Possess a valid driver’s license.
- Be a registered voter in his/her current county/city of residence.
- Be of good moral character.
The starting salary for a Hattiesburg Firefighter is $30,000 per year. All academy recruits will receive a salary of $25,000 and the salary will be adjusted upon graduation.
Applications can be made in person at City Hall (200 Forrest Street, Human Resources, Third Floor) or online at www.hattiesburgms.com.