INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Wayne Township Fire Department is getting funding for 15 new firefighters. Lots of people have been retiring, and now the department is down 21 employees more than normal.
Fighting fires is a dangerous job. When firefighters are running through burning buildings and inhaling tons of smoke, there are bound to be consequences that come out of it.
“We’ve seen an increase in firefighters retiring from everything from occupational cancer to symptoms from post traumatic stress and other medical reasons,” Division Chief Troy Wymer said.
In 2017, Wayne Township Fire had 107 workplace injuries. In 2018, it went down to 75, and as of March 2019, the department only had 25 injuries. During that time, the department became short-staffed, needing 21 people.
“Those things range from broken ankle, sprained knee, all the way up to injuries that ended people’s careers and also contributed to a lot of lost time of people not – people being off and unable to work,” Wymer said.
“Many firefighters that leave the job for injury or illness, it’s one of the saddest times of their life because they love doing this job so much,” Captain Michael Pruitt said.
Because of the amount of retirees, the current employees have been stretched thin over overtime and are taxed mentally. So, the department was given a $2.5 million grant from FEMA to help in hiring on 15 new firefighters, increasing safety for everyone on staff.
“So having additional staff available will maybe reduce some of that overtime a little bit and ensure that we have adequate staffing on our apparatus every day is one way that we want to do that,” Wymer said.
“We have to look at both sides,” Pruitt said. “We have to make sure those going out are taken well care of and we’ll make sure the ones we’re bringing in are well-trained and ready to provide great service to our community here in Wayne Township.”
If you’re interested in a job opportunity, check the Wayne Township Fire Department’s website for new postings.