‘Firefighters wanted’: local fire departments looking for help

The ‘firefighters wanted’ sign outside of the Baraboo Fire Department has been up for awhile, but the need for help is still desired.

Many Wisconsin fire departments are facing a shortage of firefighters. Baraboo Chief says this sign has been up for awhile and they’re always open to applicants. #News3Now pic.twitter.com/l9Br85DKVM

— Gabriella Bachara (@GabbyBachara) September 9, 2019

“We have to meet that challenge when our roster goes down. We have to try to build that back up,” Chief Kevin Stieve said. “It’s getting more difficult to fulfill that role.”

Of Baraboo Fire Department’s roster of 34 members, only four work full time and the others often have other commitments during the day.

“We are dealing with a composition of a department where we are relying on people coming from their homes or their full-time jobs to answer the call when people need help,” Stieve said.

Other commitments are making it more difficult for firefighters to make it a lifelong career.

“If we can get them for that five to seven years, they’re providing a valuable, essential service to the city of Baraboo,” Stieve said.

With another job and a family at home, Lt. Joshua Hecht understands that firsthand.

“For me, it’s being able to give back to the community that I live in,” Hecht said. “That’s why I find the time to do it.”

Stieve said despite the challenges of the job, it’s rewarding. He says if anyone has any interest in becoming a firefighter, their station is always open and willing to answer questions.

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