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A firefighter shortage in Effingham
As county grows, need for firefighters follows
Submitted Fire trucks with the Effingham County Fire & Rescue respond to a call earlier in 2022. The department currently is trying to fill 13 firefighter positions.

SPRINGFIELD – The need for additional fire protection in Effingham County is spreading steadily.

Effingham County Fire & Rescue (ECFR) is searching for candidates to fill 13 firefighter positions created to keep pace with population growth. The department will take over unincorporated areas currently served by the Rincon Fire Department and stations are currently under construction on Hodgeville Road and in Guyton.

ECFR started 2022 with 19 vacancies.

“We were hoping to get them filled before the end of the year,” EFRC Chief Clint Hodges said. “The job market is very competitive right now. … Just getting applications is very difficult.”

ECFR has lots to offer, including 13 paid federal holidays, overtime opportunities, accrued personal time off, employer-paid health care, county retirement plans, a Georgia State Firefighter Pension and annual salary of $42,200.

The department put a trio of firefighter hopefuls to the test Nov. 21 on a seven-station course at its training site at 204 Public Safety Blvd.

“It tests your cardio (capacity), upper-body strength, lower-body strength and your mental, no-quit attitude,” said Hodges, who watched the trio’s audition.

Candidates are allotted seven minutes to complete the course before they are docked a point for every 30 additional seconds they need. The challenges include dragging a 150-foot hose filled with water and towing a 160-pound dummy 150 feet. The course ends with the difficult task of extending and lowering a tall ladder.

Hodges said ECFR is competing for recruits against numerous area fire departments. He said six candidates are expected to graduate from a 16-week recruiting school and join ECFR in December.

The next recruiting school is set to start Jan.  9, 2023. Applications for it are still being accepted.

“We can schedule one of these tests (for admission) as soon as they let us know they are interested,” Hodges said.

Applications are accepted at Candidates must be at least 18, have a high school diploma or GED, a good driving record and no felony convictions.