Feb 24, 2023 | By: Mary Balstad

Bemidji Fire Department to Focus on Recruitment and Retention for 2023

The Bemidji Fire Department has plans for 2023, but now, they have to find ways to make them happen.

At last night’s annual review meeting with local township and city leaders, fire chief Justin Sherwood shared the numbers from last year’s report, but also what the department aims to accomplish this year.

Despite seeing an additional 600 hours of training put in by both career and paid on-call firefighters, Sherwood recognized that some did not finish all of their training. With a steady decline in volunteer firefighters across the nation, departments like Bemidji’s are looking at what they can do to alleviate this problem and retain the talent.

“We have to be creative, we have to somehow incentivize this position, we have to reach out people of all generations,” said Sherwood. “Maybe we look at our community as a whole and see what they’re looking for. Those are actions, and our needs, we need people, but we’re continuing to see the decline.”

Along with looking at how to recruit and retain personnel, Sherwood focused on conditions at the aging fire station itself. Lakeland News will have a more in-depth look at that next week.

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