MEMPHISs, Tenn. — Changes to health care coverage are not extinguishing hundreds of people’s spark to be a firefighter.
The Memphis Fire Department is looking to hire about 100 new recruits.
So far, 314 people have already applied for those jobs since Wednesday.
Memphis Firefighter’s Association President Thomas Malone thinks being a firefighter is a great, rewarding job, but being a fire fighter in Memphis is becoming tougher and tougher.
There are more than 1,500 people in the Memphis Fire Department.
This year, 57 retired, some due to the city’s increase in health care premiums.
Fifty-seven people graduated from the last recruitment class in June 2013.
Now, they are looking for 100 more.
The job offers around $32,629.48 a year for starting pay.
That breaks down to $1,254.98 every two weeks.
Applicants have to be between 21 to 40 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, pass a medical exam and pass a written fire selection test and physical ability test.
Malone said job openings may sound great to anyone unemployed, but applicants need to have their eyes open when it comes to how they will be treated by the city.
Recently some firefighters, unhappy with the city’s health care changes, started protesting by calling in sick.
“Everything is take, take, take, take from these employees,” Malone said. “There’s nothing going on to say, “Let’s grow our way out of this.’”
While he insists he would never tell people not to apply, Malone thinks people should be sure their determination to be a fire fighter burns bright enough to handle the Memphis heat.
“I’m hoping that the best of the best apply. I’m hoping. I’m a citizen, and I want to know that I’m protected here,” said Malone.
An informational orientation will be held next Saturday at 9:00 a.m. at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.
The department generally holds a class every six months.