Henry County Department of Public Safety in need of firefighters

Applicant pool being created to help fill vacancies quickly

HENRY COUNTY, Va. – When Henry County volunteer fire departments need help, firefighters at the Henry County Department of Public Safety answer the call.

That makes keeping the public safety department fully staffed important.

"We currently have some vacancies in both our full-time and part-time ranks," HCDPS director Matt Tatum said.

Tatum is trying to create an "applicant pool" -- a group of people interested in filling the vacancies.

This will help fill the current spots and any future jobs faster.

If they don't get filled in a timely manner, they could pile up to the point that the department has to start reducing services, potentially putting lives at risk.

"We haven't got to the point yet where services have declined because of a vacancy, but I still don't want to waste time getting it filled," Tatum said.

The last time an applicant pool was created, it only attracted 15 candidates.

Tatum said that's nowhere near what he would like to see.

One of the department's current firefighters, Tom Beer, said the job is rewarding.

"Just knowing that I get to help my community, the one I live in," Beer said when asked what his favorite part of the job is.

His advice for anyone applying?

There's one thing you need to have more than anything else, Beer said.

"Ambition. You really need to have a drive to be able to help your community and strive to do things like run into a burning building or run into a sick person's house and help them," Beer explained.

The application deadline is March 9.

Anyone who is at least 18 and has a high school diploma or a GED can apply.

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