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Apex: 401 applied for 12 firefighter jobs

Posted March 23, 2009

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— One sign of a troubled economy was made manifest in Apex Monday, when hundreds of people lined up at Town Hall, hoping to be hired as one of 12 new firefighters.

The town received 401 applications for the new positions, posted on Feb. 18, and 260 applicants met the qualifications to take a written test, officials said. Their line wrapped around the Town Hall Monday.

"It's about time. Nobody's been hiring," said applicant James Boyd, who used to be a firefighter with the Marines.

Apex gets 401 applications for 12 firefighter jobs Apex gets 401 applications for 12 firefighter jobs

"I really think a lot of the economic conditions are driving this," said Apex Fire Chief Mark Haraway. There are "a lot of people out of work, even in the Wake County area."

In a down economy, the relative security of a firefighting job can be attractive, Haraway said.

"Public safety, even in economic decline, is one of the last places you look to cut," the fire chief said.

Boyd said he is living paycheck-to-paycheck while working at Dick's Sporting Goods and wants more financial stability.

"It's nice to have a full-time job with a steady paycheck and not to have to worry about medical insurance and where my next meal is going to come from," Boyd said.

Ryan Bullock got a job at a tire shop after graduating from high school last year, but said he wants to carry on a family tradition. His uncles were the first two African-American firefighters in Apex, he said.

"Since I was 4, it's what I've wanted to do," Bullock said.

Apex got the funds to add 12 firefighters to its 36-strong department from a $1.3 million grant distributed in January by the federal Department of Homeland Security's Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response program, or SAFER.

The grant will pay for the firefighters' salaries and benefits for four years. The town will put up $1.3 in matching funds.

The grant requires that at least six of the successful applicants not already have firefighter training. The goal is to draw new people into the firefighting field, with minimum qualifications set at a clean driving record and an age of at least 18.

DHS gave more than $13 million in 2008 SAFER grants to 28 North Carolina municipalities, including $2.1 million for Fayetteville to hire new firefighters.

The Apex applicants still have a long road ahead to get those jobs. Those who score at least a 70 on the written test will go through three days of agility tests, followed by two interviews.

The training academy starts May 11, and the new firefighters will be on the job Sept. 11.

"I just got to beat out the guy next to me," Boyd said.

14 Comments

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  • superman Mar 24, 2009

    I hope now that they have the staff to check the town to see if there are any more checmical storage places. The last one burned and the fire department was standing by scratching their heads wondering how to fight the fire.

  • ratherbnnc Mar 24, 2009

    Be willing to bet alot of those applicants already have jobs somewhere else.. just looking for a change and some stability.

  • ibleeddigigreen Mar 23, 2009

    this is James Boyd, the former Marine from the interview and all i can say is that this has been a long time coming. the last mass hiring of firefighters in the area was last spring. its been a rough road waiting for a department to start hiring again.

    for those of you who were worried about the training, the new and previously untrained six who are hired will take part in a 22 week fire academy which will teach them everything they need to know in order to perform their job as an entry level firefighter upon graduation.

  • itsnews2me Mar 23, 2009

    Apex is going to need a bigger parade now.

  • Crocus Mar 23, 2009

    One of my neighbors is one of those applicants. She has already started training for it. The applicants all will have to pass a lot of physical tests before they are even considered. She told me about all the tests and it made me tired just thinking about it.

  • lbl3373 Mar 23, 2009

    try expanding that number of applicants to the majority of work fields in this and surrounding area's. The job situation is BAD here no matter what "they" tell you. I have a master's and have been looking for a job for almost a year. Luckily I am in a temp job right now but I can understand what these people are going through. It's rough for all types of people across all education, race, gender etc backgrounds. I applied for a Federal job and was told there were 1100 applicants.

  • colliedave Mar 23, 2009

    As far as your other comment, as a mother of a child with a disability and the niece of a man who has never had eyesight, I can not describe how offended I am at your comment. The ADA is necessary to make sure my son isn't discriminated against by people who would judge him on the WRONG criteria.

    I am on disability due to the neurognitive implications of neurofibromatosis. My body is covered with tumors and am I am in alomst constant low-level pain. I can't even attempt at retraining w/o losing my disability. I get constant looks b/c I am not GQ material. So, get over your offense!

  • MajorLeagueinfidel Mar 23, 2009

    They would initially be untrained and then sent to an academy, in this manner jobs are created for the "unemployed". Others hired might be from smaller fire departments but already trained.

  • Squidbert Mar 23, 2009

    The use of "untrained" here looks like a typo to me.

  • Chauncey Mar 23, 2009

    The untrained applicants would be sent to the Fire Academy to receive 26 weeks of training. They would not be allowed to respond to calls until they had received all the required qualifications. It's no different than the way police officers are hired and trained.

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