BETHALTO — Bethalto Fire Chief Richard Mersinger informed village trustees March 2 that the fire department had more than 100 calls in February and is busy as ever with training.
One concern voiced during the monthly meeting was the need for more manpower.
“Right now we have a staff of 31, but we could use some more help,” Mersinger said. “Right now we have 10 part-time guys with 21 paid-on-call. I’d like to have about 45 firefighters in total. We’re looking for people who are interested in being a paid-on-call firefighter and emergency medical technicians.”
The Bethalto fire department handles all training for their firefighters and EMTs at the Bethalto fire station. The requirements to become a volunteer or paid-on-call firefighter or EMT is to live in or around the village of Bethalto or in a neighboring district that has mutual aid with Bethalto. A candidate must be at least age 18, have a valid driver’s license and have a high school diploma.
“Since we are able to do our own training and certification, it’s faster and the cost is less than it would be at a college,” Mersinger said. “We have staff that are able to do emergency medical technician certification on site. We can train up to a firefighter two level. Desire to do the job and serve the community is the main need.”
In February, the fire department completed 30 hours of training and participated in a disaster drill with Phillips 66 refinery as well as the St. Louis regional communications exercise. As well as their training, they helped in the community by installing three smoke detectors and one carbon dioxide detector, and helped pre-plan one commercial building.
Anyone interested in applying for a paid-on-call or volunteer position with the fire department can visit the website at www.bethalto.com and click on the fire department tab.