The Statesboro Fire Department will soon place more boots on the ground to bolster its ability for countering disasters in and around the city.
During a scheduled meeting Tuesday, in the second-floor chambers of City Hall, Statesboro City Council unanimously agreed to authorize the department to add new full-time firefighter positions to its staff.
Officials also commissioned public safety
personnel to begin training and implementing part-time city firefighters to join the department’s ranks.
“We are now hiring two full-time firefighters to increase our on-duty staff, allowing us to have up to 10 firefighters assigned for every shift,” said Tim Grams, Fire Commander for the City of Statesboro. “I really appreciate the City Council for being supportive of this. The fire service in Statesboro had kind of dragged behind the growth of the city itself for a lot of years. But now, that issue has been brought to the forefront and council understands the things we need to do to provide the level of service citizens expect and deserve.”
According to Grams, the additional employees will allow for a greater response by the department when the unforeseen occurs.
“In adding these two people, we are increasing the level of service we provide to our citizens by being able to take more equipment to fire-grounds,” he said. “We will have the ability to take an additional truck and more equipment to structure fires. This allows us to better meet the needs that our citizens have.”
A larger staff should also help assure the department’s current ISO (Insurance Service Office) rating, which determines local insurance rates — the rating measures the effectiveness of fire protection services and equipment in communities.
Grams said the new positions and part-time firefighter program, though not originally included this year’s fiscal budget, can be expected to come to fruition relatively quickly.
“We have adjusted this year’s budget to accommodate the additions,” he said. “We have saved enough money in this year’s budget to go ahead and get started, and both will be written into next year’s budget.”
The part-time worker program will allow the fire department to hire extra help as needed, to assure no fewer than eight firefighters are on duty at any time — it will account for shortages created by vacation and sick-leave.
“We are confident we will get some quality folks who would like to assist us and make additional money, but are currently in other careers,” Grams said. “The part-time guys will be expected to meet the same qualifications and standards as the career guys.”
According to Grams, conditional job offers have been made to prospective employees, but it is still unknown where the new hires will be stationed.
The department is setting a target date in May for the new employees to begin work, he said.
Jeff Harrison can be reached at (912) 489-9454.