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Laid Off Firefighters Get a Second Chance

Laid Off Firefighters Get a Second Chance

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The Shreveport Times via YellowBrix

March 17, 2010

A few years ago, Brian Jones applied to become a Shreveport firefighter.

He didn’t make the cut, so he submitted his application to Bossier City Fire Department and was hired. The 25-year-old worked two years for Bossier City before being laid off in December due to budget cuts.

On Tuesday, Jones returned to Shreveport Fire Department as a member of its 53rd training class.

“I feel grateful to have a second chance to continue my career in the fire service,” Jones said. “And I thank God Shreveport was willing to give me a second chance, and I was successful through the process.”

Jones and seven others make up the city’s first abbreviated training class. It’s a five-week session instead of the normal 18-22 weeks because all the members, many of whom were laid off in Bossier City, are certified firefighters who have worked in other jurisdictions.

Overall, 12 laid-off firefighters from Bossier City applied. The group was chosen out of the nearly 200 applicants who sought to become Shreveport firefighters. A total of 17 recruits were selected, and the remaining nine are set to begin class in April.

“They were put in the same process with all of the individuals. They were not given any preferential treatment,” Fire Chief Brian Crawford said. “It just so happened that these guys fell in that top 17 with the interviewing and testing requirements.”

The class consists of six former Bossier City firefighters, one from the city of Natchitoches and another from South Bossier Parish Fire District. Crawford said hiring the experienced firefighters saved the city roughly $200,000.

“It saves us money, but the bigger issue is they make an immediate impact,” Crawford said. "I need those guys on firetrucks today. I don’t have to wait till the summer. By April 15, they are going to be fighting fires and saving lives in the Shreveport community, which is the greatest benefit of all.

“We just have to review the firefighter process with them, our practices in Shreveport and put them through their paces to make sure they are completely up to speed with their firefighter ability.”

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