Hillsborough Fire Rescue reserve program proving successful - WFLA News Channel 8

Hillsborough Fire Rescue reserve program proving successful

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Officials with Hillsborough Fire Rescue say the department's new reserve program is paying off big time, for the agency, and for the recruits. Jessica Damico is a public information officer for Fire Rescue.

"It gives them an opportunity to see how we work." Damico said. "So when they interview with us, they already have the lingo and the training, they're part of our family already, so when they come to get employed, it helps them in the long run. For us, it helps us with manpower. So instead of having three people on an engine, now we'll have four people on the engine. It helps us on all our fire and medical scenes."

The reserves work for free, but receive their training and uniforms for free. The training, Damico says, is invaluable. " The things and experiences they have while they're here you can't simulate in training, you can't simulate in a classroom. It's the stuff that you can't read in a book, we can do. Real life situations."

Hillsborough Fire Rescue used to staff a handful of its stations in the county with volunteer firefighters. The department ended the volunteer program last year. The reservists are now filling the void the volunteers left. In order to stay active, reserves have to work a minimum of 72 hours a quarter and perform a minimum of 24 hours of community service a year. Many reservists hope to one day land a full time job as a firefighter/emt.

If you're interested in applying for a reserve position, you can call Hillsborough Fire Rescue at 813-272-6600 or send the department an e-mail at reserveresponderprogram@hillsboroughcounty.org.

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