Shavonne Espinoza, of Whittier, is training for a chance to become a Los Angeles Firefighter now that the department has 300 new vacanies. LAFD has not fired new recruits since 2009, and more than 17,000 applicants have expressed interest in the few hundred positions. Conan Nolan reports from Elysian Park for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on July 30, 2012.
Skyrocketing overtime has made it more cost effective for LA City to hire more firefighters so although budget woes have kept the LA Fire Department from hiring since 2009, hundreds of vacancies are now available.
Five classes of 70 recruits each are expected to be hired over the next two years to help replace about 300 firefighters who have left the department through attrition and retirement.
The competition will be fierce. There are 350 vacancies, and the fire department has received inquiries from 17,000 potential applicants.
“There are so many young recruits who want to get in that drill tower," said Ellena Maddox, with the Los Angeles Fire Department recruitment unit. "All around for everyone, it’s a relief.”
The job listing isn't even out yet, but Shavonne Espinoza, of Whittier, is already training to be a Los Angeles Firefighter.
“It’s the toughest job in the world," Espinoza said. "It’s the most brave job in the world. Besides being an open-water lifeguard with the city of Los Angeles, I’m passionate about being a firefighter with LA City.”
On Monday, she strapped on 75 extra pounds of weight to simulate climbing 10 stories. She pulled a fire hose, loaded chain saws and swung a sledge hammer through an imaginary wall.
Applicants will have to endure a ten-step process, including a physical test, written exam, oral interview and medical examination, said Cpt. Jamie Moore.