Over the past year, the Biloxi Fire Department has begun to notice a drop-off in the number of firefighter applications. Hoping to combat these decreasing numbers, the fire department has instituted a new program to drum up interest.
Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney said, “You have to stay on your game. You have to have a situational awareness all the time; you can get hurt or killed very easily. You will see and do things that no human being should ever have to go through, but you have to be prepared for that.”
It’s a job that is dangerous, but it is also a job that is needed. Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney has been with the department for 35 years and knows first-hand how important a firefighter is to the community that it serves. “We certainly do go into structures a lot of time, we go into incidents not knowing what the outcome is going to be do.”
When it comes to new recruits, the Biloxi Fire Department has seen a massive decline in applications. Hoping to drum up interest in joining the department, a ride-along program was developed to give those interested a first-hand look at the job. “We want to bring candidates and people that are really serious about maybe becoming a firefighter and we just want to show them around a little bit, show them what we do, give them an idea of what we do.”
While participants will travel with firefighters as they respond to calls, don’t expect to fight any fires yet. “This will not allow for them to go in and fight fires. This will not allow them to participate in a fire incident. It will not allow them to participate in any of the incidents we’re involved in.”
If you’re interested in the ride-along program, visit the Biloxi Fire Department at the Lopez-Quave Public Safety Center in Biloxi.