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Albuquerque Fire Rescue Begins Fire Service Aide Program

FSA Program Prepares Future Firefighters

October 14, 2021

In the past 10 years, Albuquerque Fire Rescue has been seeing a significant drop in the number of applicants who seek a career in the fire service. This has decreased the number of potential candidates for the cadet program. To combat this, AFR changed the hiring process to increase the number of candidates, which now includes a younger generation of applicants who will start a 25 to 30-year career. The selection process takes time and there are several months between selection and the cadet start date where AFR is seeing job abandonment. This happens when a potential cadet does not have an immediate employment offered, and cannot accept due to the financial hardship of waiting months for the job to begin.

In continued commitment to select, hire, and retain the best candidates to become firefighters, Albuquerque Fire Rescue is introducing a new Fire Service Aide Program (FSA). The FSA program is a premier position for individuals selected for an upcoming cadet class. This program will utilize the funding from existing vacancies to hire the Fire Service Aide. The program will be optional and not a requirement to participate in the next cadet class. The program allows the FSA’s to start their fire service career early, while gaining insight into Albuquerque Fire Rescue. Individuals offered the FSA position may serve in the program during the proceeding months before their academy begins. These individuals will be selected from the current hiring list and will be required to start the cadet program on schedule.The main goal for the FSA during this period is continued focus on a fire service career, fire service training, and providing non-emergency workload relief for AFR field units. “This new Fire Service Aide program is an amazing way not only to introduce and start developing future members of our department, but it will also help manage the increasing responsibilities of our current firefighters, who are taking upwards of 8,000 to 9,000 emergency calls a month.” Said Fire Chief Gene Gallegos.

FSA’s will not be cadets. They will be civilian employees managed by the Logistics Division. Their schedule will be Monday thru Friday, 0800 to 1700. The FSA will be identified by their uniform which is a red polo shirt (see example below). These civilian employees will be learning about the fire service and provide support to field and support divisions in an effort to reduce certain task loads from existing firefighter duties.

Potential tasks may include:

  • Hydrant Inspections
  • Data Entry
  • Support functions at large scale events
  • SCBA fit testing
  • Facility maintenance
  • Deliveries
  • Community Involvement Events
  • Other tasks as assigned by Logistics

FSA training opportunities:

  • EMS Training
  • Wildland Training
  • Firefighter Training
  • Ropes and knots, Radio Operations and SCBA
  • Physical Fitness Training
  • First Due Training

The FSA’s will spend time in various divisions and fire stations in an effort to both learn and support department operations.  FTO’s, Division Captains and ranking officers will assist in the program by providing orientation, guidance, and direction to FSA’s when assigned to their station, or division. FTO’s, Division Captains and ranking officers will be provided with a list of the FSA duties needed to be fulfilled. This program will introduce the FSA to our diverse department and the multiple career paths not just the frontline response division. These include, Fire Administration, Alarm Room, Fire Marshal’s Office (Fire Inspections, Plans Checking, ADAPT), Technical Services, Training Academy, Community Paramedicine (HEART), Pharmacy, Records Management, Safety, Fire Investigations, Emergency Management, Logistics, Fleet, Capital Improvements, and Special Operations.

Additional Program Benefits:

  • Relieve workload on all AFR divisions
  • Decrease Out of service time for field units
  • Prepare FSA on what to expect in a fire service career
  • Early start on the 25/30-year career