The city of Walthourville’s fire department will add two paid personnel to its roster this year, marking the first step in its planned move from an all-volunteer unit to a full-time, fully staffed firefighting force.
According to Walthourville Fire Chief Terry Satterfield, the decision to add two paid personnel in part-time positions was made official at the Dec. 11 city council meeting. Councilmembers at the meeting approved the city’s 2015 budget, which included provisions for the new employees.
“(The new personnel) will work up to 27 hours a week,” Satterfield said. “There will be somebody there every day from 8 to 5, Monday through Sunday.”
Satterfield explained that as an all-volunteer force, it sometimes is difficult to get responders to the scene in a timely manner during daytime hours.
“That’s where we’ve been having a big issue … during the daytime, because most people work during the day,” he said. “That’s why we made the decision to go with the paid people during the daytime.”
Satterfield said that volunteers will continue to be on-call throughout the day and night.
According to a news release, the move is part of the Walthourville Fire Department’s five-year strategic plan to lower the city’s ISO rating, which in turn can lower homeowners’ insurance rates.
The five-year strategic plan runs from 2015-20, and Satterfield said the goal is to have a completely staffed, full-time force by the time the plan expires.
The city is accepting applications for the paid positions. Satterfield said qualified applicants will be registered volunteer firefighters with the state of Georgia, and also should be emergency medical responder-certified.
The deadline for submitting applications is Jan. 13. Interviews will be conducted Jan. 21, and the new personnel are slated to begin work Feb. 1.
Interested applicants may submit applications to Walthourville City Hall or call 610-1099 for more information.