Cincinnati Fire Department gets much needed relief, hiring 42 new recruits

CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Fire Department will soon get some much needed firefighters to help with its shortage.

The department will hire 42 new recruits who are currently training to join the department in the Spring.

Thanks to a Federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant from FEMA, the new recruits will undergo 6 months of intensive training in fire fighting, emergency medical services, hazardous materials, and a myriad of other topics related to the job.

“We had retirements and we didn’t have funding to hire the firefighters to replace them. It’s the SAFER grant that helped us with class 111 and it’s the component that’s helping us with class 112,” says Engine 2 Fire Capt. Sherman Smith.

Class 112 is the largest the department has seen in several years and has one of the largest female recruits in recent history.

The Cincinnati Fire Department is approximately 100 short of optimal staffing levels and an additional 40 retirements are expected by the end of 2014.

Overtime costs are expected to drop as new recruits join the department.  The department’s overtime more than tripled to $2.3 million in 2012 because of staffing issues. Captain Smith says this recruitment class is from all over the Tri-State.

“The large part about taking people from the community is they sort of understand what the needs are. They are serving their family members, their aunts and uncles and that sort of thing.  It really makes a difference.”

The new recruits are slated to graduate at the end of March.

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