The Richmond Virginia Fire Department is short twenty-four firefighters. This shortage has created a drastic increase in the department’s overtime budget. According to Fire Chief Melvin Carter between $85,000 and $135,000 is spent on overtime every two weeks. Even Keith Andes, President of the Richmond Firefighters Association, agrees that spending that much on overtime is “unsustainable.”
The department has already moved some personnel from fire prevention into the stations to respond to calls. The department is also trying to hire recently retired firefighters and firefighters from neighboring jurisdictions to work part-time.
The firefighter shortage is a result of both retirements and a “lack of funding.” This lack of funding has effected the department’s ability to recruit and train new firefighters. Earlier this year pay raises were approved for the fire department and a recruit training class of 25 new firefighters is set to begin in January. Unfortunately, the new firefighters most likely will not complete training until the summer.
Here is more from Channel 8 (WRIC) News: