Jacksonville Fire Department Expands Residency Requirements During Current Application Cycle

By Benjamin Cox on April 1, 2024 at 9:11am

The Jacksonville Fire Department and the City of Jacksonville have agreed to expand the residency requirements to pull from a larger pool of potential candidates for hire.

The Jacksonville City Council approved two memoranda of understanding with the fire department last Monday. The first was to provide some additional compensation time for new firemen to obtain their paramedic’s license.

The second is to expand the radius of residency to 30 miles from the city’s limits.

Mayor Andy Ezard says whether a candidate is able to be chosen for hire is still up to the Fire Chief’s prerogative: “I think they are just wanting the ability to attract the best candidates. Sometimes the best candidates are just outside the 30 miles. I know we are not in the minority as far as our numbers being lower for those testing. Our list is up, and we are on the last person right now. It just gives flexibility to the chief. It’s still at his discretion. I mean, you can live out in the boondocks of Morgan County and it takes someone 40 minutes to get into Jacksonville, or you can live just outside of 30 miles in say Pittsfield, and you can make it quicker into Jacksonville. Now, we can establish a whole new pool of potential firefighters when you draw in from Pittsfield, Chatham, or even the west edge of Springfield.”

Ezard says that some firefighters maybe are not ready for the larger city like Springfield and want something bigger than a smaller volunteer department to start their career. He says Jacksonville has built up a reputation of being a great professional department for a town of its size: “Maybe a person has heard of Jacksonville’s reputation of being a great professional department and wants to come work here. We’ve earned that reputation through a lot of hard work and a lot of good direction by our leadership. It kind of ties that together. By expanding the boundaries and piggybacking on some paramedic specialties as far as things that they can do, it brings together a whole new department that is ready for the future of the city.”

Applications are currently open for the fire department, and will close on May 3rd at 2PM. The next application period will be in the Summer of 2026.