CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Champaign has nine new firefighters and the Champaign Fire Department says they have plenty of applicants.
The Champaign Fire Chief, Gary Ludwig, said they had around 200 applicants on their waiting list. After filing through and hiring the nine, they now have about 83 still on their list.
“We usually see a high percentage of people who apply because they want to be a part of this fire department,” Chief Ludwig said.
Champaign Fire Department hired nine new firefighters.
“I’m truly excited for the caliber and the character of the people that we hired and they’re going to fit in well here because we have outstanding firefighters that work here,” Chief Ludwig said.
While other business owners are having a worker shortage nationwide, that’s not the case for a lot of fire stations in Illinois.
“Its very competitive. They have to go through a testing process and they have to be able to score high enough to get up on the top of the list, where they can actually get hired. The lists are usually typically good for two years. Then they have to retest if they want to stay on that list, so its very competitive across the state of Illinois,” Tom Shubert, with the Illinois Fire Service Institute, said.
The new firefighters will have to start training at the academy for seven weeks.
“In the academy they’re going to get the foundation, the basic skills that they need to be a firefighter,” Shubert said.
Champaign Fire Chief Gary Ludwig says he’s happy to have so many applicants wanting to work.
“We have some projected people that will retire and so we anticipate some more hirings off this list,” Chief Ludwig said.
He says the applicants take a test and depending on how they do, they get ranked on the list. They then have to undergo interviews at the Champaign Fire Department with the chief and other firefighters. Chief Ludwig says he’s excited for his new employees.
“The excitement that they had this morning, they need to maintain that throughout the rest of their career. We have to be our best, at our best, when people are having their worst day and the only way you’re going to be at your best is when you have that enthusiasm and that drive to be the best,” Chief Ludwig said.
When they are hiring, Champaign Fire Department posted a video on Facebook. The video had around 40,000 views. They say its another way to get the word out that they’re hiring.