VIDEO: Filling The Ranks

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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – It can be difficult for agencies to find qualified first responders.

Pay and dangerous conditions can deter people from applying.

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The goal is to always have enough firemen ready to respond to any call.

There were recently some openings here at SFD. Those positions are filled but administrators always keep applicants on hand.

Being a first responder is hard work and it’s not cut out for everyone. That means there will be positions to fill.

“That’s something that’s hard to do all over the country, to be honest with you. Here, when we find out that people will come and sometimes they go it’s very hard to get people to stay the full 25 to 30 years,” said Starkville Fire Chief, Charles Yarbrough.

Some people leave for other careers or to have a larger bank account.

Starkville Fire Chief Charles Yarbrough says his department has openings but can usually find enough qualified applicants to fill the void.

“We typically hire probably, on average, probably twice a year… three times a year, something like that. Each time we do that, we normally hire two or three individuals,” said Starkville Fire Marshall, Mark McCurdy.

There’s a difficult process potential new firemen go through before they put on the gear or climb on a fire truck.

“The physical fitness, the background checks, the interviews, the written tests like that to make sure, you know, they pass all of the requirements to hire,” said McCurdy

Yarbrough says a person must have a passion for the job.

“The fire service is wanting to give back to the community and helping the community out. Sometimes you got people that want to do that and they stay, and they stay for a while. Then you got people that want to go and make more money; we can understand that. You want to make more money and take care of your family, but this is a commitment. This is not a job, I always tell people, this is a career,” said Yarbrough.

Starkville FD did fill the four spots that were recently open without having to reopen the search.