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56% pay cut doubles reserve ranks
Manteca reserve firefighters 20 strong
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Manteca Fire Chief Kirk Waters administers the oath of office to new reserve firefighters in a Friday evening ceremony in the city council chambers. The new firemen are from left Kyle Cacayolin, Jeff Clore, Andre Guzman, Brian Luttrell, Steven Morrison, Will Neilsen, Chris Ordonez and Mark Ziesel. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin
Manteca’s reserve firefighters took a 56 percent pay cut so they could better serve the community by allowing the city to double their ranks to 20 members.

“They really stepped up,” Manteca Fire Chief Kirk Waters said of the reserve unit. “They play a crucial role in our firefighting capabilities.”

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.

 “It can take three or four hours of mopping up at a fire,” Waters said. “They (the reserves) allow us to free up full-time firefighters to respond to other calls.”

Waters noted reserve volunteer serve for a variety of reasons. The foremost reason, though, is to see if they like firefighting as a possible career and if they do to secure the experience they need to apply for  a permanent job. Several firefighters already with the city started as reserves.

Some, however, opt not to enter the fire service but continue to serve as reserves  as a community service.

Prior to January, reserve firefighters received $9.50 an hour or $228 for a 24-hour shift. The change provided them a flat $100 stipend for a 24-hour shift.

Other changes made in January included:

•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.