What was once a highly sought after job is diminishing in popularity.
Tri-Township Fire Department in Quincy is now looking to fill several positions. One of the problems fire departments are running in to when trying to hire new applicants is the application process itself.
"I was transitioning out of the Army and me and a couple other guys were talking about and thought that would be a good profession to get into leaving the Army," said Andy Wittler, firefighter with the Tri-Township Fire Department. "We were still in that kind of service mode with the brotherhood and stuff like that."
Even though it’s been several years, Wittler thinks back on the time when he was trying to land his first job as a firefighter.
"It was just a written test, oral interview and a physical agility test," said Wittler.
But the application process isn’t what it used to be. Chief Tom Bentley says when he applied for his first job he was up against several hundred candidates. Now, Bentley says they’re lucky to get 50 candidates.
"With being a smaller department a lot of times a firefighter might come here and realize this is really a career that he wants and go to a bigger department like Quincy or Hannibal or away from here," said Bentley. "A lot of times we are losing people."
Bentley says they’ll soon be down two firefighters and less manpower means more strain on the department.
"You can’t fight a house fire with half a dozen or even a dozen guys makes that pretty tight," said Bentley. "For a typical house fire here, everybody on our department shows up."
Even though firefighting was never a dream of Wittler’s, he says he doesn’t regret it.
"It’s the best job in the world, it really is," said Wittler.
If a part time or full time position is something you’re interested in or if you have any questions you can stop by the Tri-Township Fire Department. Applications are at the department. The deadline to turn in an application is June 29.