STAMFORD, Conn. — The city will hire 22 firefighters for Stamford Fire & Rescue to help bolster its ability to protect the city, Chief Antonio Conte announced Tuesday morning.
“It’s a start,” Conte said in announcing the new hires during Tuesday’s Sept. 11 memorial ceremony, “We don’t know who is going to retire.”
“It will be good to add a new generation of Stamford firefighters,” said Brendan Keatley, president of the firefighters' union.
According to Assistant Fire Chief William Smith, the hiring is expected to take place in October and November. The candidates will then undergo a 13-week training course before being added to the department, which should happen by the end of the year or early January, he said.
The mayor and the city’s administration will help fast track the training and hiring process so the new members can get started as soon as possible, Smith said. The department won’t “short-change the training,” he said.
Stamford Fire & Rescue currently has 170 firefighters, not including officers, and should have about 188, Smith said. The city took the proactive approach to minimize the effect of potential retirements, he said.
This is the first time the department will be adding new members since 2008 because of budget costs and potential fire-service changes, Mayor Michael Pavia said. The city should be able to save about $1 million in overtime costs, which have increased because of the lack of hiring, Pavia said.
The new firefighters will come from a list of potential candidates, which was created about two years ago and will be updated and used to make sure staffing levels don’t fall too low again, Pavia said. The Police Department will be adding 12 new members with two hires from other departments in the state and 10 new officers in the near future, he said.