With the green light from the Town Council to move forward with hiring four additional firefighters, Fire Chief Darren O’Brien said he planned to begin interviewing candidates this week.
According to the $263,144 warrant article that was passed in the Town’s March election with overwhelming support for increasing Fire personnel, the Town will hire the new firefighters on a cost-effective, staggered schedule.
The Town will hire two firefighters in September, and two more firefighters in January, according to O’Brien.
The new hires will increase daily staffing levels from nine to 10 firefighters on a 24-hour basis to address the needs of the community with the influx in calls and simultaneous calls, as well as the Town’s increase in calls for mutual aid.
O’Brien has called the hiring of four additional firefighters “just a stepping stone” toward adjusting the Department’s staffing to meet the Town’s growing demand for services.
The Town received 52 applications for the four available positions with the Department. The large field has been narrowed down to seven finalists, who will undergo an intensive selection process that tests candidates’ mental and physical fitness.
“Some of the candidates have experience with other departments, and some have never worked for a department before,” O’Brien said. “It was a pretty strong showing. We received more applications than we have in previous years.”
Candidates who make it through the Oral Board (interview process) will move on to take a polygraph test, one of the most important steps in the hiring process, according to Battalion Chief Jim Roger.
In order to move on to the physical and psychological evaluations, candidates must pass their polygraph test, he said.
Once the final four candidates are hired, they will complete a two-week training period, followed by a year-long probationary period, according to O’Brien.
Following the probationary period, firefighters will be assigned to a battalion.
“We’re excited to see what will happen moving forward,” O’Brien said.