N. Charleston Fire Department looking to fill 18 firefighter vacancies

The city of North Charleston says their fire department is short more than a dozen firefighters, and they are looking to cut that number soon.
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 6:38 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 30, 2022 at 10:58 PM EST
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The city of North Charleston says their fire department is short more than a dozen firefighters, and they are looking to cut that number soon.

North Charleston Assistant Fire Chief Christan Rainey said they are short 18 firefighters right now but said he is optimistic they can eventually bring that number down to zero.

Rainey said the vacancies are not affecting calls for service or response times in the city because there are enough firefighters available for every truck. However, firefighters are having to work more overtime hours to ensure they are fully staffed.

The assistant chief said their vacancies have increased in recent years due to the pandemic, and their turnover rate has remained between 10 to 12 percent.

The starting salary for a firefighter in the city is just under $44,000 per year and just under $46,000 for EMTs.

Rainey said the department has been reaching out to local students to help recruit more firefighters into their ranks.

“We have a ride-along program, where they’re able to ride along with us, kind of see the ins and outs of what we do,” Rainey said. “It’s one of those jobs that you know you see us going down the street and going to an emergency, but you don’t know what we do once we get there. You don’t know what it’s like being a firefighter day in and day out.”

Rainey said they currently have applications that are open through Jan. 6, with an orientation scheduled for Jan. 9.