EFD looking for new recruits, open house this weekend

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — Even though the Evansville Fire Department 2021 application process doesn’t begin until March, EFD wants to get recruits “fired up” now about possibly joining the department.

EFD is holding an open house Saturday, October 24 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Evansville Fire Department headquarters on 550 SE Eighth Street.

EFD public information officer Mike Larson joined Eyewitness News Wednesday to give us more information about the event. No firefighter background is necessary.

Attendees will learn about basic training, equipment and responding to runs. Lunch will be provided.


Shelley Kirk: The job market may be a little tough right now in the middle of a pandemic, but one local place will be hiring. The Evansville Fire Department is recruiting new firefighters and joining me now to talk about this is Mike Larson, the Public Information Officer for the Evansville Fire Department. Thank you so much for joining us, Mike. We all see what our firefighters do. But what makes a good firefighter? What do you look for in a new recruit?

Mike Larson: We’re not looking for anyone with any special firefighter skills. I mean, we do all the training ourselves here within the department, we have a 16 week process. So you know, for people to think that they need to have some kind of firefighting background, they do not, we will take care of all that. So really, a person that wants to help their community that’s willing to learn, listen, and be part of something bigger, really bigger than themselves.

Shelley: Well give us your elevator speech. Why would people want to be a firefighter?

Mike: I’ll tell you, some of the biggest things, you know, the camaraderie we have, the family atmosphere we have on this fire department is really incredible. Helping each other throughout, you know, whatever situations you may be in, we have all kinds of different individuals within our department. But some real big things is there’s never been a layoff in the history of the Evansville Fire Department. So once you’re in, you know, basically you’re in unless you do something really wrong. You’re going to be a member of our family. The starting salary is really is pretty attractive, in my opinion. It’s over $50,000 a year for a starting salary for an individual coming into this job.

Shelley: That is attractive, that I’m sure that will get a lot of folks’ attention there. But what kind of background? I know you touched on this a little bit, but do they have to have, you know, a high school degree, college degree? What about physical ability and do they have to live in Evansville?

Mike: Well, as far as any type of education, we do require them to have a high school diploma or equivalent. They do not have to live in Evansville, they can apply from anywhere in the country. But once or if they do become employed with the fire department, they will need to live within a 50 mile radius of the city limits of Evansville, which includes the state of Illinois and Kentucky and that is something new with this hiring process we’re getting ready to start in March.

Shelley: What about the physical ability? Because that is very physical work.

Mike: It is necessary to be physically fit, we do have a candidate physical ability test that individuals will have to pass. I can go into a lot of details on that. But what I’d like to do is just direct people to our website evansvillefiredepartment.com The employment tab is on the left. And there are several videos and descriptions of the candidate physical ability test to help people get prepared for that.

Shelley: What about training, you guys have extensive training, right?

Mike: Once they make it past the the written examination, which again, let me start off with we have a very unique application hiring process. The it starts by signing up to take an exam, we take a written exam, which is kind of an aptitude test, they have to pass that. Then there is the physical agility test, which that spreads out over two or three months, which will allow us to help people who maybe aren’t quite ready, talk to some of our peer fitness trainers, and they can help get them more in shape to pass that. And then they’ll have to go through an interview process before they’re ranked on an eligibility list. Once they’re on that list, when we have vacancies, we will go through that list numerically pull people off of it, offer them the job. And then once there, they make it through some drug screening, a physical and things like that. Then the job starts and it’s 16 weeks of fire training, which includes becoming an EMT, and several fire certifications.

Shelley: Now I know you’re having an open house this weekend real quickly tell us when and where folks can show up to get more information.

Mike: So it will be this weekend from 10am till noon. It is at our administration building which is at 550 SE Eighth street, and that is a couple blocks north of Fire Station 1, so if you pull into a lot and see fire trucks, you’re in the wrong place, but you’re close. We’re going to be here around 9:30 a.m. to start taking signups, individuals who are between the ages of 20 and 35, which is the window that they have to be, that age to apply. We’re doing signups and we will allow them to come into our building, obviously due to COVID restrictions we’ve got to keep that social distancing. They’ll come inside the building, we’ll talk to the Chief and a few other administrators and and we’ll just really kind of drill down and hopefully entice them into to becoming part of our family.

Shelley: That’s great. All right. Chief Deputy Thank you so much. We will put this information online so hopefully more people can get access to that and hope you have a great turnout. Thank you so much for spending some time with us today.

Mike: Thanks Shelley.

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(This story was originally published on October 21, 2020)

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