Sep 14, 2012 8:44 PM by Andy Koen
Colorado Springs Fire Chief Rich Brown is excited to be creating jobs. He anticipates having at least 27 openings with the fire department for the 2013 fire academy.
"Twenty-seven people will have an opportunity to get on with this department which is one of the best departments in the country," Brown said.
He initially expected to have 12 openings when the department was awarded a $2 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to create the additional 15 jobs to help staff the new Fire Station 21 in Indigo Ranch. The grant expires in two years, which raises the question of what happens when the money runs out?
"When the money runs out, of course, we're going to reapply," Chief Brown said. "We're going to continue to reapply, and hope for the best with that. If it doesn't work then we will use the original plan that we were going to have to staff Station 21."
That original plan involved moving a company of firefighters to 21 from another firehouse, likely Station 17, that currently is listed as having a double company. It's less than ideal, but Brown says the northeast side needs faster response times and Plan B simply helps stretch their tax dollars.
"We're always looking at ways to stretch those dollars and to be creative and yet very safe in putting people out in those fire stations to make sure that they're staffed properly."
Making such a move would mean cutting positions on paper, but not necessarily lay-offs. Brown says the fire department's average attrition is around 16 firefighters per year. Many openings come from retirements, but others come as firefighters move or leave the department for other reasons.
Chief Brown seems very interested in taking applications from the local community. The application window for the 2013 Fire Academy runs from November 26 through December 14 with testing scheduled for January 10-11.Until then, job seekers can submit a Firefighter Interest Card.
Construction of Station 21 is expected to wrap up in June of 2013. The new building will be considered the most energy efficient fire house in the state.