CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Every day, firefighters put themselves in harm’s way to protect their communities. NEWS10 ABC checked in with three major cities in the Capital Region regarding their fire departments and where staffing levels stand.
At a promotion ceremony Tuesday morning, eight officers moved up the ranks in the Albany Fire Department. Chief Joe Gregory said they have a relatively young department, and new recruits keep coming.
“We have an active list right now. Several hundred people have taken the exam, passed the exam, and are now eligible to be canvassed for jobs as positions become available,” Chief Gregory told NEWS10.
He added that the department is doing “very well,” all their shifts are covered, and he is pleased with the current state of staffing.
Meanwhile, in Saratoga Springs Tuesday morning, a groundbreaking took place for a new fire station on NYRA property. Public Safety Commissioner Jim Montagnino said SSFD is currently full staffed, but they plan on recruiting more firefighters and paramedics to be ready to staff the Henning Road station when it opens next spring.
However, in Troy, Mayor Patrick Madden said the city is struggling to attract people to take the firefighter civil service exam, adding that, often, they are competing with other communities for the same group of candidates that may be interested in a career in the fire service.
“Earlier this year, the city received federal grant funding to train firefighters to the level of paramedic,” Madden continued. “We are grateful to Majority Leader Schumer for securing these resources for Troy, and will continue to work with our fire chiefs to meet staffing needs in the department.”
Troy is not the only city struggling. In Schenectady, Fire Chief Donald Mareno said there are about 15 openings in his department. He said the process has begun of looking at candidates based on results of a March civil service exam.