CALIFORNIA CITY – The Fire Department hired three new firefighters, creating a fully-staffed department after months of firefighters working overtime to cover shifts.
The department announced the new hires during a city council meeting in August, during that time the hires were trained and are expected to begin work this week.
The three new hires bring the staffing personnel to 13 including the chief. Cal City fire fighters operate in four-man teams, and without their full staff have been taking extra shifts to help meet the demand in the area.
Captain David Orr says having a full staff helps the department meet safety requirements and will ease workload for the fire fighters.
“The new personnel will ease many operational workloads and tasks throughout our fire department, including reducing overtime and personnel burnout due to high call volume, and taking charge of programs that are not being attend too due to current staff shortage.”
In addition to working more regular hours, fire fighters will have the ability to up their staff for city events, put more hours into training programs and support more state and national mutual aid requests from Cal OES and FEMA.
The department has already been sending out resources to help with California wildfires. In August, Engineer Paramedic Ryan Hanzel was assigned to the French Fire burning near Lake Isabella as a Paramedic Helicopter Crew Member. He was assigned to a firefighting helicopter with hoist capabilities.
Towards the end of July, the California City Fire Department also deployed Engineer Paramedic Adam Pretzer to the Peak Fire as a Paramedic Helicopter Crew Member.
In a statement, the department said these were “great examples of your local firefighters assisting the statewide battle of wildfires.”
All Cal City firefighters are certified as paramedics. While there is no statewide requirement that firefighters have emergency medical training, the department’s extra experience helps provide care in rural areas like Cal City where health resources are sometimes limited.
“Our new hires will already be trained and licensed paramedics,” Orr said. “When we set out for the hiring of a Firefighter Paramedic the qualifications for the hiring process were for applicants to already have their certification for State Firefighter I and already be a State Licensed Paramedic.”