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Interest strong in reserves even with pay reductions

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Interest strong in reserves even with pay reductions

Reserve firefighters augment the full-time personnel of the Manteca Fire Department.

Bulletin file photo/

POSTED March 24, 2010 2:41 a.m.
Manteca’s reserve firefighters have taken a 56 percent pay cut yet there is still a strong interest for the chance to land one of the available spots with the city fire department.

There were more than ample candidates for the 10 new positions the city is now in the process of filling. The first step in the screening process was a written examination taken last week at fire station No. 1.
”A lot of people in this economy are looking at other job options,” noted Fire Chief Kirk Waters. “There also is a high desire to help the community.”

Waters noted the 10 current reserve firefighters were “more than support” of cutting their pay in exchange for strengthening the program.

The 56 percent pay cut for reserves is part of a reorganization that will double the ranks of the reserves from 10 to 20 to improve service to the community.

Reserve firefighters prior to January received $9.50 an hour or $228 for a 24-hour shift. It has been changed to a flat $100 stipend for a 24-hour shift.

Other changes include:

•requiring reserve candidates to possess a Firefighter 1 certificate to reduce initial training costs.

•restructuring reserve training to a bi-weekly format to reduce ongoing training costs.

•requiring reserve recruits to obtain regional  Candidate Physical Agility Test (CPA) certificate within six months to limit recruitment costs.

The reserve firefighters are used during large emergency incidents such as structure fires when they are activated and report to the scene. Most structure fires require several hours of labor intensive work to assure complete extinguishment of the fire and to salvage the belongings of residents.

The program also gives members of the community the opportunity to prepare for and determine if a career in firefighting is for them. Several of the department’s career firefighters have come up through the ranks of the reserves.

The reorganization will not have an impact on the budget.
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