Minot Fire Department offers opportunities for recruits

Fire department offers opportunities for recruits

Jill Schramm/MDN Minot firefighter Jason Angelo collects his gear from a fire truck before heading out from Station One Friday.

There are many good reasons to want to be a Minot firefighter. One stands out for Austin Burns with the Minot Fire Department.

“There’s nothing better than going on a call and helping someone,” he said. “That’s, obviously, the ultimate goal is taking care of your people.”

The department currently has three job openings for firefighters, and Burns, who is training captain, has been encouraging anyone looking for a career that’s both professional and fun to consider applying.

The department is looking for people who want a career they can take pride in, he said. The basic requirements are 18 years of age, a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma and a driver’s license. However, the department also looks for qualities such as willing to learn, disciplined, strong work ethic, task oriented and ability to work with people. Applicants with military backgrounds receive preference points.

There is no upper age limit, but there’s a place for both the young and the more mature firefighters, Burns said. The department hired a firefighter in his mid-40s, who brought valuable skills as a former plumber and the dedication that makes him an asset, Burns said.

Firefighters are almost constantly busy and have a schedule heavy in training.

“We train you in-house,” Burns said. “The opportunity to excel in multiple disciplines – technical rescue, dive, hazardous materials – there’s so many opportunities out there to succeed, it’s incredible.”

The Minot department sends its firefighters to some of the best training across the nation, he added.

Minot has a young department, but new ideas from even the young firefighters are welcomed in what Burns considers to be a highly progressive organization under Fire Chief Kelli Kronschnabel.

“Everything is evolving,” he said. “Having leadership that is helping us evolve and progress is key.”

For new firefighters, the environment promotes rapid advancement and opportunities to take on more difficult roles and leadership roles, said Burns, who has been with the department for seven years.

The work environment also is positive.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Burns said. “We live with each other. Our schedule is 24 hours a day. We have to be able to work together, and we create a bond. It’s basically showing up to work with your friends every day.”

Firefighters work 24-hour shifts, averaging nine to 10 shifts a month.

“If you look at the hours we work, it’s kind of daunting, but you get a lot of days off,” Burns said.

Among benefits of the job, Burns doesn’t overlook the support of the community and the good feeling that comes when driving the big red truck down the street and seeing people wave. Community relations is a major focus of the department.

“We do a lot of fire prevention, community risk reduction, making sure that our community is as safe as possible,” Burns said. Prevention staff work with shift firefighters to educate students in the schools. They attend community activities to promote fire safety.

“We want to be out there,” Burns said. “We are part of the community as well, so we want to make sure we can get out there as much as possible and work with the community because, ultimately, we are here to serve them.”

Job applications are available online at minotnd.org through the fire department link. Applications are due by 4 p.m. Thursday. Job testing, both written and physical, are Sept. 26, and interviews are Sept. 27.

The department will select its top three candidates for the current openings, but the list will remain active for future openings. Over time as the list nears exhaustion, it will be rejuvenated with additional applications and testing. Burns said the list is updated about twice a year.