Williston Fire Department fixes longtime staffing shortage
WILLISTON, Vt. (WCAX) - After a longtime staffing shortage, the Williston Fire Department has nine new recruits.
Right now, the recruits are on week two of their eight-week training.
The department has struggled with staffing shortages for some time.
Williston Fire Captain Prescott Nadeau says these new recruits could make a life-saving difference.
The recruits come from all over the country with varying degrees of experience.
“Their qualifications range from paramedic to EMT,” Nadeau explained. “Some have been to fire classes. Some are new to it.”
The town did a study last summer, which urged officials to hire additional full-time staff. On Town Meeting Day, those living in Williston voted in favor of adding $785,000 to the department’s budget to accomplish that.
“We’ve seen in the past five years, especially, our call-staff numbers have decreased quite a bit from 30 to just over half-dozen, and their ability to respond to calls as well,” Williston Town Manager Erik Wells said.
There is currently a minimum of three people available to respond to calls, meaning if there are any medical calls, only one person is left at the station to handle everything else.
With these new recruits, Nadeau says the new minimum will go up to five people, although there will likely be closer to seven available.
Nadeau says this is the most recruits he recalls the department having at a single time.
“This is just an extremely exciting time for the Williston Fire Department, and being one of the folks training these people, I look forward to where they go from here,” Nadeau said.
They should be done training the recruits by mid-June.
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