Moline Fire Department relaxes job requirement in hopes to attract more applicants

MOLINE-- Moline’s Fire Department is looking to get out of a tough position Monday, March 19.

There are 60 positions open at the fire department, but at least 10 of those spots are open. Chief Jeff Snyder says he’s now looking to increase the number of perspective applicants.

“There’s electricians, there’s plumbers and carpenters. I think a lot of young people are just going towards those careers and we want to make sure that we reestablish that emergency services as a career they can also pursue,” says Snyder.

The lack of man power is also playing a toll on the crews still on hand, because they have to make up for the uncovered shifts in overtime.

Sawyer Claus has been on the squad for a little over two years. He says the most he’s worked is 96 hours in one work week.

Currently he is on the second day of a 48-hour shift.

“I love the job it’s a great job you can’t complain too much but it’s taxing…. When you’re working long shifts, it can be difficult when it’s late at night and you get the structure fire call,” says Claus.

Snyder says the vacancy is due to multiple schedule changes.

“We had retirements and we had folks going off on disability. We’ve been progressively more short staff the last couple of year,” says Snyder.

Another reason for the shortage is because not everyone qualifies to be a firefighter. Applicants need to pass a physical and written exam and complete an EMT basic training program. In the past perspective job candidates would have also needed a paramedic license, the department has since relaxed that rule.

Instead the Moline Fire Department will allow applicants to get their license after they are hired, the department will even cover up to $5,000 towards the class.

New hires will be allowed in the field almost immediately, but those without a paramedic license will be accompanied by certified paramedic until they’ve completed the training.

The department has also released a recruitment video also turning its eye towards hiring more minorities and women.

“We looked in the mirror and we saw that the department does not reflect the community that it serves from a diversity standpoint…So that was a big area of concern that we wanted to reflect,” says Snyder.

The Moline Fire Department will accept applications until April 13.