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New firefighters recruited for St. Johns County's "auxiliary program"

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Updated: 6/10/2013 8:13 pm
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- St. Johns County commissioners are praising a new program proposed by the St. Johns County Fire Rescue to recruit more firefighters with little overhead.

At Tuesday morning's commission meeting, the St. Johns County Fire Rescue chief gave the board an update on the progress of the program.

"The auxiliary firefighter program will help strengthen our department, our public-safety aspects and our community," said St. Johns County Fire Rescue Chief Carl Shank.

The program is twofold, it aims to help newly graduated firefighters maintain their certification while providing the county with more manpower.

According to County Commissioner, Ron Sanchez, the program also goes beyond that.

"They have to have overtime with firemen, they have to call them in anytime there is a brush or woods fire," said Sanchez, who represents St. Johns County Commission District 2.

Sanchez said the auxiliary program will help reduce overtime for current firefighters, which in turn saves taxpayers money.

Auxiliary firefighters will not be paid or receive benefits but they'll be considered fire rescue employees.

According to the St. Johns Fire Rescue, the program has already been approved to receive about $58,000 to help pay for their uniforms and equipment.

Shank said 15 people have already been interviewed for the job.

"They would serve as force multiplier to the department and for significant events, whether it's for hurricanes or wildfires, things like that where we need a lot of manpower," said Shank.

According to Shank, all auxiliary firefighters will be required to work 24 hours a month. Once there is an opening in the department, they'll receive strong consideration for the position.

The program is expected to start this week.
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