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MFD schedule change provides new incentives for recruits

Published: Sep. 2, 2020 at 5:01 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - A new shift schedule has come to the Meridian Fire Department. Instead of working for 24 hours and being off for 48. The brave men and women are now working 48 on and 48 off.

“Locally, with career firefighters and volunteer firefighters it’s become problematic to keep a full staff,” Meridian Fire Chief Ricky Leister said.

The fire department’s full capacity used to be just over 100, but with the recent lack of recruits and a new schedule, it’s now 80.

“We came up with 40 people per shift for a maximum of 80 people. That means we can staff every apparatus we have and still allow for vacations and everything like that,” said Leister.

This change comes with some perks. At the end of every 28 day cycle a firefighter would have six consecutive days off.

“They seem, for the most part, to like it, especially when they get their six days in a row off. It seems to be working well,” Leister explained.

Earlier this year the department went from a hiring blitz period to an open application process. You can now apply at any time.

With 80 personnel considered full capacity that means the pay for an entry-level firefighter increases.

“It was a little over $30,000 coming in the door. Now it’s a little over $40,000,” Leister said.

For citizens, nothing has changed. The same quick response times and coverage remains the same.

If you would like to become a Meridian firefighter you can pick up an application at the Civil Service Commission office on the first floor of City Hall.

Copyright 2020 WTOK. All rights reserved.

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