Miami Valley region under firefighter shortage

May 16th, 2016
By Maytal Levi WDTN

WEST CARROLLTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The West Carrollton Fire Department is struggling to keep firefighters and paramedics on staff.

The department’s fire chief says emergency calls are up, but the number of firefighters is down.

“Normally, we have 45 part-time personnel. Now, we’re down to 34,” said Chris Barnett, West Carrollton fire chief.

34-part time employees and seven full-time. Barnett says turnover is high and their shortage is about to get worse with five firefighters leaving for other opportunities.

Barnett isn’t sure why less people are applying for fire service positions. In a year he’s only received two applications. Now, the department is offering health benefits not only to full-time staff, but part-time as well.

“This job is spontaneous and you never know what the day is going to bring,” said Barnett.

It takes about 3 years of training to become a qualified paramedic and firefighter. He says the shortage is impacting the entire region.

“You’re there when someone is having their worst day and you can make a difference. Your actions have an immediate impact,” said Barnett.

To apply, visit the West Carrollton city building.