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Gainesville fire department wants to expand recruit school
Move could result in hiring too many firefighters, but department cant keep up with hiring
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Firetrucks sit in Gainesville Fire Station 1. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Difficulty finding qualified firefighters has prompted the Gainesville Fire Department to request expanding its recruit school.

City Council is likely to approve the addition of three recruits per 12-week training school when it meets next week.

Chief Jerome Yarbrough told city officials at a work session Thursday morning that extra personnel is needed to cover for recruits who fail to complete required EMS and firefighter training.

Typically, at least two recruits per school do not go on to work for the department, Yarbrough said, adding that the request “will help alleviate that problem.”

The fire department currently has nine vacancies. Yarbrough said adding positions is a more cost effective way to address personnel shortages.

City officials said they are willing to take the heat if new spending is required to support additional hiring in the event that the department winds up with an excess number of qualified candidates.

Gainesville City Council will vote on the matter when it meets at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the municipal courtroom of the Public Safety Complex, 701 Queen City Parkway.

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