Hiring process underway for local firefighters - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Hiring process underway for local firefighters

SOCASTEE, SC (WMBF) – More than 150 firefighters are competing for just a few spots on the Horry County Fire Rescue Team, in one of the biggest recruitments in years.

It is also the first time an applicant doesn't need an EMT certification to apply for a full-time firefighter position. HCFR hopes this will open up opportunities for more locals to be able to apply, including local volunteer firefighters.

"It's a challenge, the nerves and everything, you're competing against a lot of people," said Michael Mabe. Mabe is currently a volunteer firefighter with HCFR. He wants to turn his position into a full-time career.

Mabe, like many others, finally has a chance to try since an EMT certification is no longer a requirement. However, that doesn't mean the hiring process is easy.

Sunday, more than 150 applicants competed against each other on the J-RAT course. It is a physical agility course designed by firefighters in Horry county. 

The course simulates situations that firefighters face on the job: carrying hoses, climbing stairs, and helping victims, for example. However, it isn't just about physical strength. Mental strength plays a big part in being a successful firefighter.

"If you don't have both, you won't be able to do the job. You won't be able to serve your community and you won't be able to do it safely,"explained Michael Medeiros, the Wellness Coordinator for HCFR.

Part of that service is based on the medical field. So,while applicants don't need an EMT certification right now, if they do get hired HCFR will train them. They plan on having all new recruits certified within the year.

The next step in the hiring process begins on Monday. Candidates will do sit-down interviews. At the end of the week, scores from the written exam, the physical test, and the interviews will be compiled.

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