Central Pierce Fire & Rescue plans to hire up to 15 emergency medical technicians and firefighters.
The job posting already has brought in more than 200 applicants from across the country, and officials expect more before the Sept. 4 application deadline.
A few of the positions will replace firefighters who are expected to retire, and the others will be assigned to the Shaw Road station, which serves the South Hill area of Pierce County.
All of the funding, about $100,000 for each position, is coming from the department’s budget.
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“It is something we’ve been planning for a couple years,” Central Pierce deputy chief Doug Willis said Tuesday.
The money will come from savings realized when Central Pierce merged with the City of Puyallup Fire Department after last November’s election.
Combining duplicative offices such as human resources and finance saved money, Willis said. The combined department also has spent less on the purchase and upkeep of vehicles, Willis said.
The department’s budget for next year will be finalized in September – shortly after the application window closes – and the agency will then know exactly how many of the proposed positions it can fill.
In late July, the department changed the Shaw Road station from being open only for peak hours to providing 24-hour medic service. Overtime is paying for the service until new recruits come in.
In 2008, the department received 16,836 calls for service, with 7,382 medical transports. With the merger, the department expects 24,000 calls in 2009 and 10,500 medical transports, so the additional firefighters are needed, Willis said.
All applicants must have EMT certification. The new firefighters likely will train this fall and become full-time early next year.
Brian Everstine: 253-597-8374