[cifnmedia] Firefighting applicants more diverse

  • From: Sean & Kimberly Aaron <cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: CIFN LIST <cifnmedia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 26 Aug 2004 19:53:03 -0700 (PDT)

Firefighting applicants more diverse 
More than 18 percent of candidates are women, minorities 


More than 18 percent of the 574 people who turned in applications to become 
Springfield firefighters are minorities, females or both.

Mayor Tim Davlin said he hopes the percentage, albeit smaller than he would 
like, will work toward cracking the long-standing challenge of making the fire 
department more diverse.

Of the 211 uniformed members of the fire department, five are minorities and 
three are women.

"While we would have wanted a larger number of minorities to apply to take the 
test, we are optimistic that those who have applied will score well and qualify 
for consideration when the city hires new firefighters next year," Davlin said 
in a statement Wednesday. "We want to have the ethnic makeup of our fire 
department to more closely reflect the ethnicity of our community. I am 
optimistic that we can begin to achieve that goal with these candidates."

About 1,100 application packets were taken out, and 574 of them were turned 
back by Friday's deadline.

The total of completed applications is up 7 percent from the last firefighter 
application process three years ago.

The new candidates include 42 black males; 31 applied three years ago. Twelve 
Latino males and a Latino female turned in packets this time, compared to six 
Latino males last time.

There also are 13 other minorities who identified themselves as Asian/Pacific 
Islanders or Native Americans.

As for women, 36 applied this year, compared to 39 three years ago.

The 18.1 percent of applicants who are minorities and/or women is up from the 
14 percent the city saw the last time around.

Davlin said the city appreciated the assistance of the local chapters of the 
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the 
Latino-promoting National Image Inc. in getting the word out about firefighter 

The next step for those who applied is taking the written examination, which 
will be Saturday at the Prairie Capital Convention Center.

A physical ability test will be given Oct. 16-17 at Fire Station No. 10, at the 
Illinois State Fairgrounds. The city is offering people the chance to practice 
the ability test. The remaining practice dates are Saturday, as well as Sept. 
10, Sept. 25 and Oct. 8. To sign up for a practice, call 789-2446 at least four 
days before.

Candidates who pass those two tests, along with an oral interview given later 
this fall, will be ranked on an eligibility list that will be valid for two or 
three years. 

As the fire department needs more people, jobs will be offered from the top of 
the list down. 

Applicants generally must be between 20 and 34 years old and have a valid 
driver's license. Before getting hired, they also must pass criminal 
background, drug and psychological screenings.

The starting salary for a Springfield firefighter is $33,731 yearly.

Jason Piscia can be reached at 788-1525 or jason.piscia@xxxxxxxxx

Sean A. Aaron (CIFN*1)
Central Illinois Fire Network

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