Northfield Area Fire & Rescue Services on Thursday announced the hiring of six firefighters after receiving approximately two dozen applications to fill four open firefighter spots.
The firefighters either live in Northfield or the immediate area:
“They went through a process,” said Fire Chief Gerry Franek. “Of course we had the original test to test their cognitive skills. And that took out a certain amount of people, and then we whittled it down to the physical test, and then that took the number down just a little bit more, and then in the end we did oral interviews.”
After the oral interviews with a panel of captains and NAFRS board members, candidates were given physicals to ensure there were no physical impairments.
NAFRS board member Bron Scherer noted the hiring was the third round since the organization was founded in 2014. He said significant interest has been attracted each time, which he called “incredible,” since fire departments across the country are having a difficult time attracting members.
He said part of the reason for the relatively high interest is the department’s solid reputation and involvement with schools, partnership with the VFW and Christmas gift drive. He also credited the department’s pension plan with attracting members.
“We’re just very fortunate to have that legacy,” Scherer said.
On-call rates are around $21 per hour, with a different pay scale for meeting and training time. Northfield firefighters also receive an annual pension of $10,000, the highest in the state.
Northfield Area Fire & Rescue responds to about 260-280 fire calls each year, as well as a couple hundred rescue calls. The minimum percentage of calls an active employee must respond to is considered 30 percent, with the average from 40 to 60 percent.