Because of the number of firefighters at or near retirement, the Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board is increasing its efforts to recruit new members.
"We're starting earlier than we have in the past," Capt. Dennis Jones.
In years past, the recruiting process was done by word of mouth, but the need to recruit qualified probationary firefighters has increased, and so too will the recruitment effort. A typical probationary class has between two and four probationary members, but the department this year will hire as many qualified candidates as survive the hiring process.
Deputy Fire Chief Bill Johnston said the campaign will include promotional booths at major events in the community, presentations at community service organizations and a presence on the radio and in the newspaper.
"Now we're going to get aggressive," he said.
Johnston said it is "quite a process to even get hired" because of the extensive interview and testing process, but that shouldn't deter interested applicants.
"If you've ever had an interest, a desire or a question in your mind about whether this is for you, apply," he said. "We'll tell you if you can or can't do it."
After being hired, the recruits are put on a probationary period for one year, during which time they learn numerous practical and written skills as part of the state certification process. All probationary members are required to become State Certified Firefighter I and pass all other required fire department training within the first year.
As a paid-on-call firefighter, Johnston said the pay is not great, but the experiences and overall rewards make all of the effort worth it.
You can't buy experiences like this," he said.
While Craig Fire/Rescue does not have full-time firefighters, its members are held up to the same standards as all full-time departments across the state.
The application process is currently taking place and runs through Sept. 1. Applications can be picked up at the Craig Fire Station, 419 Yampa Ave. between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For more information, call Vicky at 824-5914.