FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Fort Wayne’s Fire Department will soon have more new firefighters as a new class is currently in training.
This class, it’s decorated with 14 recruits from Fort Wayne and two from the City of Huntington. While in the academy, the recruits go through intense, military-style training, hazmat training and EMS training. They then move on to the fire skills of driving the fire truck, weighing in hoses and putting out fires,
There is another class currently going through the process and they just took their physical aptitude test.
Out of the 320 applicants that showed up for that test only 150 are left. Of those 150, only 24 will be selected as a new recruits.
Fort Wayne Fire Deputy Chief Adam O’Connor said that in recent years the number of applicants has dropped but it’s still very competitive when 320 people apply for 24 spots.
“The process is still highly competitive. The last two processes we have seen less applicants than normal, but even in this current one, we’re talking about 20 applicants for 24 positions so we have a big group to pick from. Sure it’s always good to have more competition but we’re not unhappy with 320 applicants for 24 jobs,” O’Connor said.
The fire department has also started an incentive to attract minorities. This effort was a creation from the United Front initiative that happened last year after the protest.
“With the current process the one that is going on right now, we have seen a 6% increase in minority applicants at this point in the process. We are happy with that, we are happy to see some gains there. A lot of folks put a lot of effort into that, so I am tickled to see that show in the numbers,” O’Connor said.
The newest class is expected to be sworn in in the upcoming weeks.