Baton Rouge Fire Department tries to fill 50 vacancies

27 new firefighters are suiting up for the capital region, but Baton Rouge Fire Department still has vacancies.
Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 5:38 PM CDT

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - More than 20 new firefighters are suiting up for the Capital Region, but the Baton Rouge Fire Department still has vacancies.

Six months of rigorous training have led to the moment when 27 recruits will officially become firefighters for the City of Baton Rouge.

“I always felt somewhat of a call to serve the community, so I decided to change careers and here I am,” explained Justin Ward.

He is the valedictorian of the 40th class of the Baton Rouge Fire Department. Ward said he is ready to serve his community and put his new training to the test.

“I was raised in a family where my father taught us from a young age, you help people because it’s the right thing to do. So, I think that’s the reason why most of us are here, and if we are looked at as heroes by some, that’s great, but I think everybody’s here because this is what they want to do,” explained Ward.

Baton Rouge Fire Department is looking for more recruits like Ward. Currently, there is a total of 50 vacancies left to fill.

“Throughout the country, there’s a need for people as first responders, not just fire, not just police, but EMS as well,” said Justin Hill, spokesman for BRFD. “You know that need to serve is always there.”

Firefighters are only allowed to work a total of 30 years, and then, they must retire. So, recruiting is always a top priority for the fire department to keep its numbers up.

“The more people we have, the better service we can give to the people, right?” asked BRFD Chief Michael Kimble. “The more firemen that we have on the scene, the quicker the fire gets put out, and we can go in and save lives. Numbers mean something in the fire services.”

Kimble said they want to start training new recruits by the beginning of the new year. They’re looking for people between the ages of 18 and 35, and who know how to adapt under pressure.

“You hear a lot that firemen are a jack of all trades. You may get called because somebody’s lights aren’t turning on, or a lot of times we’re called on the worst days of people’s lives, and you got to perform your best on those days,” added Ward.

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