The Meridian Fire Department is looking for a few new firefighters.

Beginning in April, Chief Jeff Homan wants to fill three openings with people who have a strong desire to help others.

“That desire has to be strong enough to put their own selves in danger to help others,” Homan said.

The vacancies were created by retirements and resignations. To apply, a person must have at least a high school diploma or a GED, be at least 19 years old by April 18 and maintain a valid Mississippi driver’s license. A civil service application must also be completed and turned in to the Meridian Civil Service Commission at City Hall no later than noon Friday, April 14. Applicants must also pass a physical and written test, followed by an oral interview.

The job, Homan said, has evolved beyond simply putting out fires.

“We do a lot of EMS calls, we respond to wrecks. We handle hazardous materials and even have to be prepared to deal with terrorism,” Homan said. “It’s more than just spraying water on a fire anymore.”

Homan said the 24-hour shifts firefighters are required to work are often difficult but well worth the effort.

“We’re a family,” Homan said. “Once you get in there and establish yourself, you become a part of that team, that family. At times, you will spend more time with them than you will with your own family.”

Homan said only those who are physically fit and want to better society need apply.

The fire department currently has 99 firefighters on staff. Homan said a starting firefighter’s annual salary is $20,282 with a full city benefits package and state retirement package.

For a civil service application, call (601) 485-1931.

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