The Jacksonville Fire Department has announced an upcoming application period for those interested in becoming a firefighter, with a new promotional video highlighting the department.
The Jacksonville Fire Department is accepting applications for candidates for entry level firefighters from September 28th through October 23rd.
Fire Department Chief Doug Sills says the department is taking a bit of a different approach this time with an adjustment to the requirements and the creation of a promotional video which was released on social media this week.
Sills says the project began back in February, but the inspiration came even before that.
“I had seen a couple of other departmental videos out there that showcased the department, but we were looking for something different so we could we could sort of showcase our personnel and what we do for our community. How the guys interact, what they do and how much they love it, and how committed they are to the community. It’s more of not trying to showcase or push our department, but to gain some interest in what we do in the job we perform and the services we provide”
Sills says they wanted to show the different aspects of what the fire department does and for something with high energy that would attain the viewer’s attention but yet still deliver a message about not only the department, but about the job and the profession itself.
He says it is getting more difficult each year to find qualified candidates, and it is the department’s hope that the video will help draw more interest in employment with the fire department, especially locally.
“Across the nation and even in our own community here the number of applicants that apply for law enforcement jobs, EMT’s or firefighters have taken a downturn and we are not getting the interest it seems, even from our own community to want to get involved. That’s kind of where we were targeting it at was for our community. To try to raise some interest and I think Brett Brockhouse says in the video ‘it’s the greatest job in the world and I don’t know why people aren’t banging down the doors to get into it.’ Once you get a taste of it you’re hooked.”
Sills says the department did not have to look far for help with producing the video, as Jacksonville’s own Steve Weber worked with the department for several months on the project. Weber has completed several productions in the Jacksonville area over the years, including productions for Main Street and JREDC, among others.
Sills says Steve captured the look and feel they wanted, and all of the footage in the video is of Jacksonville firefighters, even the scenes that are little intense.
“He did a great job with the guys and the interviews. A lot of the footage he has on there is actually from the helmet cams, so the actual footage you see of the fires are actually what our guys filmed.
Those aren’t clips that he pulled off the internet, those are actual incidents that happened here in town. In the one with the back of the engine running down Main Street here with the header (smoke) coming back up the scene, I filmed that on a cell phone while we were going down North Main one day.”
In the video, Jacksonville Firefighters can be seen entering smoke filled structures, cutting an accident victim from a vehicle with the jaws of life, extinguishing a car fire and providing life saving techniques. Some of the scenes were staged in order to keep fire and accident victims anonymous.
Sills says part of the new employment agreement for new hires requires them to attain the paramedic license within a certain period of time after being hired. He says in previous years, the department required applicants to already have a paramedic license, however with the number of qualified personnel on staff, the department feels they can bring on candidates who already have an EMT B license, and can go through the schooling for paramedic while on the job.
He says the big thing that is different this year is the department has a tuition forgiveness program. So any school loans or costs that are involved in attaining that paramedics license, the fire department will reimburse what it costs the individual, which would be spread out over the first three years of their career.
Starting pay for a Jacksonville Fire Department entry level firefighter is just over $51,000 annually. For more information or just to view the JFD video, go to their website at jacksonvilleil.com/fire or on the Jacksonville Fire Department Facebook Page.
Interested candidates can also call the department with questions at 217-479-4656