Kingman's growth calls for eight new firefighters

Thirty-five aspiring firefighters will soon vie for eight new firefighter positions with the Kingman Fire Department.

The applicants will begin testing Nov.

18 with written and physical tests and oral interviews, KFD fire Chief Chuck Osterman said.

The applicants have to have graduated from the state fire academy as certified firefighters as well as being a basic emergency medical technician, Osterman said.

The new positions will boost the number of firefighters from six to 14.

KFD would then have 42 uniformed staff including shift commanders, captains, fire prevention specialists, engineers and firefighters for the 2002/2003 fiscal year.

KFD's budget for the fiscal year for personnel expenses is $2.5 million.

The total department budget, which also includes supplies and equipment, is more than $3 million.

The new positions are needed because of the diminishing number of fire volunteers because of increased time for training and certification requirements.

After the written test, which consists of a wide range of aptitude skills, the applicants will go through a physical test to guage strength, endurance an fflexibility.

The testing will be done at KFD's fire station No.

2.

All 35 applicants are male.

Usually several woman apply when there are openings, Osterman said.

The events include going up and down stairs wearing a 50-pound vest designed to simulate gear normally worn by firefighters, such as a breathing apparatus.

Helmets and gloves are also worn in the stairs test, KFD assistant fire Chief Joe Dorner said.

Twenty-five pound shoulder weights are also used temporarily to simulate a hose pack.

The physical test also consists of a fire hose pull, carrying a chain saw over a distance and placing it into a shelf, extending and retracting a ladder and pulling a 165-pound mannequin a total of 70 feet, Dorner said.

Applicants must also crawl through a confined area.

The last test is using a prop to simulate poking a pipe into a ceiling.

All seven events are timed for seven minutes and 23 seconds.

Those who pass the written and physical tests go before KFD officers for oral interviews.

Background checks are also performed on the candidates, Osterman said.

Several of the applicants are volunteers and part time firefighters already with KFD.

The eight final applicants who are hired should start their position as entry-level firefighters in January.

The new positions would allow KFD to staff its busiest fire engines with three firefighters instead of two.

The new firefighters will also fill in for existing firefighters on vacation or who are sick, Osterman said.