Leland Fire/Rescue has launched a new Volunteer Firefighter Recruit/Sponsorship Program as part of ongoing efforts to better serve the community and attract the best candidates to the growing department.
Through this program, the department will sponsor people to go through the Fire Academy at Cape Fear Community College. The academy runs twice a year, and Leland Fire/Rescue will sponsor two individuals during each session.
The idea for the program came about due to the changing environment of volunteer firefighting. Departments nationwide, including Leland, have been dealing with a declining number of volunteers.
“The number of hours needed to become certified at the basic level is hard for a lot of people to meet. Trying to balance the training, career, and home life was a struggle that we have seen many times over,” said Fire Apparatus Engineer Matt Murphy. “We talked a lot about this program and how we could make the biggest difference for our citizens and prospective new firefighters. It was more evident than ever that a sponsorship program would give us that opportunity.”
The Fire Academy at CFCC is a comprehensive program that provides all basic certifications to set candidates up for a long career within the fire service. It includes Firefighting I & II, Haz-Mat, Basic EMT, Emergency Vehicle Driving, Mayday/Safety and Survival Skills, and other vital information.
“We are transitioning from a volunteer to a career organization, and this is a great way to still provide opportunities for people to get the necessary certifications,” said Fire Apparatus Engineer Christopher Barrett. “Leland isn’t big enough yet to have its own academy for new hires, but with this, we are able to pick the right people and train them to do the job.”
Candidates will be selected after a process that includes an online application, panel interview, background and reference check, drug test, and candidate physical agility test. After successful completion of the fire academy, candidates will be required to volunteer with Leland Fire/Rescue for six months, working alongside career firefighters to gain valuable experience.
Anyone interested in applying for the program should contact (910) 371-2727.