“Since the last time we met we have finished taking applications; we have completed three quarters of the written testing phase,” Fire Chief Dewey Woody said.
According to the chief, approximately 80 people have taken the test with about 40 more scheduled. Testing ends Thursday.
“We’ll re-evaluate (but) we think this number of testing folks is going to accomplish what we’re after in the hiring process,” Woody said.
The next step for those hoping to be added to the ranks of Bradley County Fire Rescue will be a physical agility test.
The tests have already been scheduled for the last weekend in May.
“We’ll look at physical agility scores. We’ll look at the scores that they’ll have after they do the interviews … then we’ll begin to try to rank people as to who we feel are the best candidates to put into those positions,” Woody said.
The needed firefighters will be hired 12 at a time.
A proposed department Rookie School, to cut down on the travel necessary for completing training, has received state approval, according to Woody. The training is 61 days long and includes more than 400 hours of preparation.
Woody also presented information to the board on the specifications that would be used to bid on the new tanker trucks and fire engines needed when the new fire stations are built. The engines will be custom built to make changes requested by the county firefighters to help them work more efficiently, Woody said. The tankers will be standard. The trucks will be bid in May.
The new fire stations were also discussed. Fire Board Chairman Dana Burgner asked what the average construction time was for a fire station. Woody said the last fire station took about six months to complete.
The board also received copies of the budget the department submitted to the mayor’s office. The chief presented a budget for the fire department, one for the rescue portion of the department and a combined budget. This will be the first year the budget for the department will be combined. Fire protection is funded out of the fire tax, while the rescue services are funded out of the county’s general fund. Previously the department operated on a separate budget because the city of Cleveland paid a portion of the rescue budget due to the county responding to all hazmat and car-extraction situations, regardless of location. The city department has since begun providing these services within the city limits, and the city is not paying a portion of the county rescue budget this year.