By Kelly White
The Chicago Ridge Fire Department is planning to add a new firefighter by April to replace one who will retire this summer.
Chicago Ridge Fire Chief Robert Muszynski said he wants to bring the new recruit on-board before the retirement of Fire Marshall Dave Bricker. Bricker will be officially leaving the department in July, but plans to remain on staff an extra month to help with the new firefighter’s transition into the department.
If the department does not hire a new firefighter by the time Becker leaves, it will be functioning with a staff of two fewer than for what is budgeted. The department is budgeted to operate with 19 full-time firefighter/paramedics; however, has been at 18 while an incoming recruit finishes training at the Romeoville Fire Academy.
Muszynski has asked for the Village Board’s permission to hire another new firefighter/paramedic by April 1. The new employee will work two days a week during a two-week orientation at the Chicago Ridge Fire Station, then attend the fire academy to receive hands-on training in technical rescue awareness, hazardous materials, rope operations, investigating vehicle fires, confined space operations, improvised explosive devices awareness, trench rescue operations, response to terrorists bombings, vehicle and machinery operations, and water rescue operations. The recruit will also be CPR certified, Muszynski said.
If the board approves the new hire to begin April 1, the firefighter’s academy training will begin April 15 and be completed by the first or second week of June, Muszynski said. If the board does not approve the April plan, the recruit would not begin academy training until Sept. 23.
“If we don’t hire someone now, and we wait until September, without replacing the upcoming retiree prior to his retirement, there will be a period where we will only have 17 firefighters/paramedics on-staff full-time instead of 19,” he said.