RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Richmond Fire Department has created a new hiring process that makes it easier to hire new firefighters.

The Richmond Fire Department is calling this a ‘reimagined hiring process’ that increases the starting salary and shortens the amount of time needed to go through the hiring process.  

Originally, the hiring process had a duration of nine to 12 months. Now, the entire process is being cut down to three to five months. Changes that contribute to the difference in time include things like online testing and concurrent evaluations. This way, if someone wanted to work for the Richmond Fire Department but lived in another state currently, they could still complete testing remotely.

Another change to the hiring process includes a higher starting salary for their new hires. Originally, the starting pay was $43,000 and has since increased to $49,000. Because of assistance from Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and Richmond City Council, they were able to increase the starting salary to $51,913 upon graduation from the academy.

For experienced firefighters like Captain Michael Wilkins, these changes will continue to assist the team.

“It’s almost like a team sport, you don’t accomplish anything alone here,” said Captain Michael Wilkins. He continued to say, “you build those bonds and your teammates become family.”

In addition to these new hiring incentives, the Richmond Fire Department is continuously hiring, which makes the process more inclusive.

According to the FY2023 Adopted Annual Fiscal Plan for the personnel complement/ position control, 421 positions are currently funded, and 411 positions are filled. Of the 411 positions that are filled, this includes the 28 new recruits that are currently involved in the training academy.

With more firefighters, Captain Wilkins says they can continue to serve their community without spreading themselves thin.

“Sometimes when they call 9-1-1 it’s probably the worst day of their life. So, we’re there to serve our residents and make it better,” said Captain Michael Wilkins.

No prior experience is needed to come work for the Capitol City Fire Department in a team-oriented environment, focused on continual improvement and committed to serving our community.

In addition to shortening the hiring process, the Richmond Fire Department is also looking into shortening their academy training to so that they can get recruits in the community sooner.