The Kure Beach Town Council approved two proposals to promote recruitment and staffing within the Kure Beach Fire Department.
According to Assistant Fire Chief Ed Kennedy, a live-in program will be for three volunteer firefighters.
Several volunteer firefighters commute from Wilmington to Kure Beach, meaning their response time on calls is slowed significantly.
"It's kind of rough," said volunteer firefighter Steven Parker Galloway. "Because you want to help, but you can't because you can't get there in time."
To participate in the program, a firefighter must be enrolled in school or a part time job while living at the house. In exchange, the firefighters will provide station duty 10 nights per month at the station.
According to Kennedy, the house would cost $15,000 per year, but would be a fraction of the cost of the three firefighters. The department is looking for houses close to the station, particularly in the area of South Fourth Avenue.
Stations across the Port City provide live-in programs for their firefighters. In order to stay competitive for volunteers, Kennedy said it's necessary to give firefighters a reason to volunteer in Kure. With rent prices high in Kure Beach, the live-in house would be another incentive to volunteer their time protecting the residents of Kure Beach.
"It's going to be a huge service to the community," Kennedy said. "The fact that the guys are in the area, means they can respond really fast."
Behavioral concerns have surfaced with the concept of three young firefighters living in a house together, but the live-in candidates said it's a concern that is misdirected.
"We know how much is riding on this program with our assistant chief and chief. We wouldn't do anything to mess that up," Galloway said.
In Kennedy's presentation at the Kure Beach Town Council Meeting, he said the house would have a "den mother" figure, responsible for the house and the candidates would be required to sign a contract.
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