Leland Fire/Rescue to sponsor recruits training at Cape Fear Community College

Published: Jul. 11, 2022 at 3:13 PM EDT
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LELAND, N.C. (WECT) - As one of the fastest-growing areas in North Carolina, leaders in Leland are working to make sure there are emergency responders to answer all calls for help.

“The number of hours needed to become certified at the basic level is hard for a lot of people to meet,” said firefighter Matt Murphy. “Trying to balance the training, career, and home life was a struggle that we have seen many times over.”

The need to attract more people to the job while also making it easier to get their foot in the door was obvious to Leland Fire/Rescue. That’s why the town is using a new partnership with Cape Fear Community College. The fire department will sponsor recruits to go through a four-month program to get their required training.

“I actually went through the academy at Cape Fear,” said Barrett. “It was a huge opportunity for me. I was very fortunate for them to be able to give me that. Without it, I don’t know that I would have been able to pursue my dream of becoming a firefighter.”

While who meets the basic requirements can be a firefighter, it’s not easy. CFCC’s Fire Academy teaches recruits everything they’ll need to know like suiting up in 90 seconds or less, different firefighting techniques and how to break down a door to get to victims or hot spots inside.

The struggle to fill volunteer firefighter positions isn’t exclusive to Leland. Departments all across the country are running into the same issue.

“With COVID and different things like that, it’s a lot scarier to have people go into homes and do this type of profession,” said Barrett. “Especially when there’s alternatives that people can work from home and have a lot more flexible hours and less strenuous career field than what we like to do here at the fire department.”

The program runs twice a year. Leland Fire/Rescue plans to sponsor two recruits during each session to help fill open positions. Right now, there’s mostly a need for volunteers but the town is still searching for the right person to fill a paid firefighting position.

“We are transitioning from a volunteer to a career organization, and this is a great way to still provide opportunities for people to get the necessary certifications,” said Barrett. “Leland isn’t big enough yet to have its own academy for new hires, but with this, we are able to pick the right people and train them to do the job.”

Anyone interested in applying to take part in the sponsored volunteer program should call (910) 371-2727.

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