HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - For the last two days, HCFR applicants have been tested physically and mentally just to start the process of qualifying to be hired as a career firefighter. Before they get to the physical aptitude test, they have to pass a written test.
The tests aren't easy, but they are as easy as it gets for them in the training process. After the physical test comes an interview, then a physical exam by a doctor. At that point, the department will offer career positions to the men and women they feel are best qualified.
There's a reason they have to jump through so many hoops. "We need to push you so that when you get to that point where you're out on the street, you can handle any situation," says the Wellness Coordinator for HCFR. "So, this is the first step, and we'll build off of this. This same test we give to our on-duty staff. But they do it in full gear on air."
And the physical agility tests are just as much for candidates to make sure the mental and physical stress of being a firefighter is something they can handle.
Department officials say if it's something you can handle, then apply. "Horry County Fire Rescue is looking to recruit people that are deep-seated and rooted in our community," says HCFR Assistant Chief Doug Cline.
More than 75 percent of the guys and girls trying to prove themselves in the new hire process are from the local community.
Cline stresses the idea of stabilizing a local work force and giving opportunities to people who will stick around the community. "We're looking for people that are knowing the community, understand the community. And they're most likely going to stay as a long-term employee and will be a career for them. Rather than just having a job for a period of time and then choosing something else or relocating."
About 185 men and women applied the last two days, and HCFR will pull from these candidates to fill the openings it has now and the ones it will have through winter.