Craig Fire/Rescue firefighters ignited the Moffat County High School homecoming bonfire Thursday night. The fire department is accepting applications for new firefighters through Friday. Applications are available at the fire station, 419 Yampa Ave., or at www.craigfirerescue.org.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Craig Fire/Rescue firefighters ignited the Moffat County High School homecoming bonfire Thursday night. The fire department is accepting applications for new firefighters through Friday. Applications are available at the fire station, 419 Yampa Ave., or at www.craigfirerescue.org.

Fire Rescue seeks recruits

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Interested residents can pick up applications for Craig Fire/Rescue at its headquarters, 419 Yampa Ave., or download one from www.craigfireresc.... All applications must be submitted to the fire station by 5 p.m. Friday.

— Self-fulfillment is what keeps Samantha Johnston at Craig Fire/Rescue.

It's not the pay, which doesn't cover all the hours invested each week, and it's not for any public glory.

For Johnston, who is one of 23 active firefighters at the department, the reward comes from doing good by her community.

"Responding to emergencies in the community is incredibly rewarding," she said. "Making someone's worst day just a little bit better is an amazing feeling."

The fire department is hoping others might feel the same. Officials are accepting applications for new firefighters through the end of the week.

Interested residents can pick up applications at the fire station, 419 Yampa Ave., or download one from www.craigfirerescue.org.

All applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. Friday.

The department requires all applicants to be at least 18 years old and live within the fire district to be approved. Applicants also must not have been convicted of certain felonies, such as some sex offenses.

Those who may be nervous they won't meet the department's requirements, or who may not have the time to commit, shouldn't dismiss the opportunity, Johnston said.

"If they're even interested, they should apply," she said. "Just because you apply doesn't mean you're committed to going through the whole class."

The fire department relaxed some of its requirements this year, most notably that new recruits must pass a physical agility test at the outset.

Johnston said new recruits will be asked to complete the test, but they won't have to pass it until midway through their first year.

"There were a lot of people who didn't know what the test is, what to expect, and this gives them time to adequately prepare," she said.

Prospective recruits should know going in that there is a substantial time commitment required, Johnston added.

Those new to the program are asked to give two to three Saturdays a month for the six months of their training, and are asked to work some weekends the rest of the time.

People shouldn't worry about their work schedules, though, Johnston said.

"You just have to respond when you can, whether that's at night, in the afternoon, on weekends, and that's more than enough," she said.

The time involved, while it has drawbacks, is part of what makes the fire department a second family for many, Johnston added.

"Once you become part of the fire service, it's an instant brotherhood and sisterhood," she said. "The people who leave the department will tell you that it's bittersweet. It's like a divorce."

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