Rochester Fire Department looking for firefighter applicants

Rochester Fire Department (RFD) is looking to build its team of firefighters as we head into the new year.
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 6:38 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – They’re some of the first people to run toward danger to keep our community safe. Rochester Fire Department (RFD) is looking to build its team of firefighters as we head into the new year.

Every two to three years, RFD puts out a call for more firefighters for its roster.

“That list is used to fill openings due to retirement, injuries, resignations, those kinds of things,” RFD public relations and recruitment firefighter K.C. Clark said.

Typically, six to ten firefighters will join the department.

But this year, RFD expects to see the number of applicants to rise as some firefighters approach the end of their careers.

“We anticipate maybe a little growth, we do anticipate some retirements,” Clark said.

New this year, firefighter applicants do not need to have the required certifications at the time of application, but those certifications are still required before the applicant can be hired.

“To try to encourage more applicants and get more people to apply and be interested in being a firefighter, we’ve actually waived the requirements for those classes at application, so you don’t have to have those to apply and test and get on the eligibility roster,” Clark said.

RPD says the change opens the door to more applicants.

“We wanted to break down the barriers and really just make people aware that it is a profession that’s accessible to everybody,” Clark said.

Another way the department has been able to keep on a steady number of firefighters is by offering training to area high school students.

“We’ve offered firefighter one and two through the local high schools that includes Byron, Pine Island, Stewartville, Dover-Eyota. Students have actually had the opportunity to take those classes while they’re in high school,” Clark said.

Although new applicants no longer have to come in with certain certifications, RFD heavily focuses on training with hands on activities to show what it takes to be a firefighter.

“We want to make sure that as a crew, as a working unit, we can put out a fire or save a life or do CPR. We want to make sure all of those things are really cohesive as a team,” Clark said.

The application is open from February f1-21 of next year. Interviews will take place in the spring and the final list of eligible hires will be released on May 18.