Firefighter a popular job in South Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Firefighter a popular job in South Georgia

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ALBANY, GA - (WALB) -

Jobs with the Albany Fire Department continue to be in high demand.

The department received 160 applications for 12 firefighter positions.

It's not the hours or the pay. Being a firefighter can be a dangerous, tough job.  But lots of men and women want to be one. 

Albany Firefighter Josh Howe says his job allows him to be a hero at times, and that is the best part.

Howe said "You're going in and saving people. So you are kind of the hero. That's the fun in it. The part that makes you feel good."

The Albany Fire Department has about a dozen firefighter openings from retirements and job changes, so they are now hiring. More than 160 men and women applied before they closed the process. Chief James Carswell says it's not unusual.

Carswell said "People sometimes see the part they see they see on TV. That's all the glamour and the fun part. And there is a lot of work part to it also."

Josh Howe was one of those kids who grew up dreaming of being a firefighter....but had no misconceptions about the job. His father is an Albany firefighter, and Josh wanted to follow in his footsteps.

Howe said "The way I grew up around it, it always seemed like a family. Another family. So I wanted to be part of it."

The Albany Fire Department will hire more than a dozen people in May, and then they will go through a 12 week training program. Those who gain state certification will become first responders. Chief Carswell said today firefighters need to be mechanically inclined.

 Carswell said "You have got to be able to reason, factor, problem solving. You have to be able to work with your hands. It helps if you can use tools. We use a lot of tools. You have to also be physically fit, because it is a physical job when everything else fails."

Despite the danger, firefighting jobs continue to be highly sought after, as the Albany fire Department goes through dozens of applicants for each opening. 

A starting Albany Firefighter makes a little more than 33 thousand dollars a year. Currently the department is using more part time firefighters and overtime hours to keep their shifts fully staffed, until the new hires are trained and brought on board.

Albany Technical College has another full class of firefighters in training.

The Fire Science Technology program is one of the school's most popular and competitive.

8 of the 24 students currently enrolled will graduate in May.

The 2-year program started in 2000.  Officials say it stays full because so many people want to be firefighters.

Student Amanda White says she is not cut out for a desk job, and looks forward to the challenge of being a firefighter.

"We do other things besides fight fire," said White.   "There is a lot more to it. There is a lot in public education, as far as helping children understand the dangers. And things like that. It's not just fighting fire."

Albany Tech is now accepting applications for future students.

The fire science technology program trains students in both paramedic and firefighting technology.

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