SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — After years of cuts, Sacramento City Fire is set to add dozens of new firefighters to its ranks.
It wouldn’t be uncommon to see a firehouse closed for the day because of a lack of money. But now stations are about to be fully staffed again.
Battling the flames along the front lines is grueling work, but it’s a job that is highly sought after.
“A person that is really serious about becoming a firefighter—I’d say it might take them 3 to 5 years before they are competently able to complete for the job,”
An already highly competitive field got even tougher as the recession forced the Sacramento City Fire Department to cut positions and implement rotating closures at stations.
“Those were very tough years.”
But that is changing. Chief Ray Jones is allowed to hire once again.
“It is a great feeling, it’s one of those things I was really happy to be able to do.”
Seventeen firefighters are about to graduate from the academy and another 24 are set to be offered jobs this month. That’s a total of 41 firefighters that will be added to replace some of the positions lost during the recession.
“Over the course of the five years before, we made a lot of cuts, so it’s going to take us a few years to get back to where we probably need to be.”
Voters’ approval of a quarter-cent sales tax is the reason the department can add firefighters this year. Had it failed, the chief would be laying off 85 of them.
“It’s such a positive effect to be able to start filling those roles again—the people that we had lost through attrition—so this is positive.”
Sac City was hit the hardest. Other agencies, such as Metro and Cosumnes, say they currently can only replace the positions lost to retirement. They hope to add to those numbers next year if their budgets improve.