Kick off the new year as a firefighter

The Addison Township Fire Department is seeking dedicated candidates to serve the community as paid-on-call firefighters/Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs).

Fire Chief Jerry Morawski said the agency is getting a little short on paid-on-call personnel and is looking to boost its numbers of volunteers to better protect Addison Township and its nearly 7,000 residents.

“We’re at 19 firefighter/EMTs right now and I’d like to see my numbers closer to 25,” he explained. “Our call volume is going up. We’ve had an increase of more than 110 calls than we were getting last year at the same time, so there’s a lot more demand, especially since we are required to have an EMT and a (para)medic during every transport.”

According to Morawski, the fire department’s current shortage reflects a nationwide drop in the number of volunteer firefighters and is likely associated with a general decline in volunteerism in society.

“It’s a nationwide problem,” Morawski said. “I’ve been to a lot of seminars trying to figure out what to do. We’re unique where we are because there are only 4,600 departments throughout the U.S. that actually transports for Advanced Life Support (ALS) and Addison Township is one of those. Being a small town, this makes it very difficult to keep volunteers (given) the amount of training that has to happen . . . There’s such (an emphasis) on training and yearly certification these days that it can put a big burden on a person when they’ve got a full-time job and a family.”

According to a National Fire Protection Association report published in 2016, the number of volunteer firefighters per 1,000 people has been decreasing since 1986. The report, which acquired its data through surveys of fire departments, states there were 788,250 volunteers in 2014 compared to 808,200 in 1986.

Although the position does require training, which can be challenging for volunteers to fit into an already-packed schedule, Morawski said the position can be extremely meaningful for those that decide to pursue it.

“Anybody that’s willing to give the time and help their community and be part of something good would be a great candidate,” the chief said. “If you have the heart and the desire, we’ll steer you and train you and make you someone that can help with calls and feel good about it.”

All classes and training in the areas of firefighting and emergency medicine are paid for by the fire department.

Prior to final hiring, applicants must successfully pass a pre-employment physical exam and drug screening.

Qualified applicants must be at least 18 years old, hold a high school diploma or a GED, have a good driving record and no criminal history, and must reside in Addison Township. Hourly pay starts out at $10 during the probationary period. Once someone is fully trained and licensed, wages increase to $16.54 per hour.

“We do pay a minimum of one hour, so if the call only lasts 20 minutes, you will get paid for the full hour,” added Morawski.

For more information, call the Addison Township Fire Department at (248) 628-5600, or visit

Those interested may also stop by Addison Township Fire Station #1, located at 4026 Forest St. in Leonard, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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