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Logan-Rogersville Fire Protection District reports shortages in firefighters and applicants for upcoming academy

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 7:14 PM CDT
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ROGERSVILLE, Mo. (KY3) - The Logan-Rogersville Fire Protection District is experiencing a staffing shortage, on top of a decreased interest in the upcoming fire academy.

The department is short four firefighters. And Chief Richard Stirts says shortages can lead to burnout at a faster rate.

”At some point, it becomes my family or the fire department and we don’t want it to get to that point but we need people to apply for jobs,” Chief Stirts says.

Chief Stirts says the staffing shortage makes scheduling and filling all of the times more difficult, which leads to more overtime among current firefighters.

“After a while, everybody gets tired of working and so filling overtime shifts has been a problem,” Chief Stirts says.

However, Chief Stirts says it hasn’t impacted any services or their response time. That’s despite the fact 2021 has had a record-breaking number of emergency calls.

“(It) turns that stress into more stress on the firefighters and employees we have,” Chief Stirts says. “Less family time for those guys.”

A major plan for recruiting is the upcoming fire academy which starts in January. The academy trains for 12 weeks and is completely free for those who apply through the Logan-Rogersville Fire Department.

“At the end of that you’ll be certified as hazmat awareness, operations, firefighter one, firefighter two and be available for jobs,” Chief Stirts says. “There is a great supply shortage of firefighters in Southwest Missouri. More and more fire departments are hiring people every day.”

The academy training is all day Monday through Thursday. Although classes, clothing, and textbooks are free, the program itself is unpaid.

Matthew Snodgrass graduated from the academy last year and says taking three months off can add a layer of stress for some applicants. However, Snodgrass says it’s worth it.

“It’s really nice to know by the end of the time you’re done with the academy you’ll have a job like pretty much secured for you whether it’s at Rogersville, Nixa, Battlefield, Ozark,” Snodgrass says.

Snodgrass calls firefighting the best decision of his life.

“Even your bad days, because everyone has bad days on the job, even your bad days it’s still amazing,” Snodgrass says.

Chief Stirts says they’re planning to accept about ten people into the program.

Applications for the upcoming fire academy are due by October 31. Resumes can be sent to rstirts@lrfire.org.

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