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East Longmeadow seeks five call firefighters

Date: 1/17/2013

By Chris Maza

EAST LONGMEADOW — The East Longmeadow Fire Department is now accepting applications for five call firefighter positions.

"Being a call firefighter is a demanding job. You never know when you are going to get a call. It could be during dinner, at a party or at 1 a.m.," Fire Chief Paul Morrissette said. "It's a tough job, but it's also a job that comes with a lot of pride. As a call firefighter, you respond with the career guys, doing the exact same thing they do."

Morrissette said that the deadline for applications is Jan. 28 as the department's desire to have the selected applicants take part in the upcoming fire academy in order to have them ready for action as soon as possible.

He also explained that the academy is expected to start on March 30, interviews and physicals must be completed in February in order to have prospective firefighters ready in time.

"It's an aggressive couple of months," Morrissette said. "The academy was originally supposed to be in July, but they had a program in Eastern Massachusetts that was lacking participants and wanted to get the most out of it."

Unlike Police Department hires, call firefighter candidates are not interviewed by the Board of Selectmen, but by the Chief and one or two other senior members of the Fire Department, Morrissette said. Once interviews are completed, the department makes recommendations to the selectmen that must be approved.

Once selected by the department, prospective firefighters must take part in the academy, which runs for six months.

"It's a big commitment. It takes two days a week and several weekends," Morrissette said. "It allows candidates to train and be certified as a Firefighter I-II, which is level at which we have trained all of our firefighters. It creates a department of well-qualified people."

Those who graduate from the academy would then join the department as probationary firefighters and once more experience is gained, they will receive full call-firefighter status.

Probationary firefighters are compensated at a rate of $8 per hour and regular call firefighters make $11.75 an hour. Trainees taking part in the academy are not paid.