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Along with several other institutes and businesses nationwide, the Illinois Fire Service Institute is facing critical staffing shortages. Monmouth Fire Captain Craig Cozadd says getting the word out of the steps and training needed to become a first responder is vital:
“We’ve got to get them young because we have to get people pointed this direction and knowing what it takes to do the job. I think sometimes it’s just information isn’t out there, so they don’t know what it takes and maybe they choose a different route for that reason. I think if the information is out there, like these are the steps you need to take to make your career work for you, whether it’s getting your EMT, a fire science degree, or paramedic, or working for an ambulance service, or whatever, because you can’t be hired by a career fire department until you are 21 in Illinois. So they have time after they graduate to do these things and a lot of times people take different routes and just go a completely different direction and then not know how to get into it if they want to, so we are trying to bridge that gap.”
The Illinois Fire Service Institute will be offering a Spring/Summer Basic Firefighter Academy beginning May 9th. More information can be found online at http://fsi.illinois.edu.
**Written by WMOI/WRAM Director of Communications Kelsey Crain**