Posted: Jan 4, 2013 5:33 PM by Caroline Flores - firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: Jan 4, 2013 6:40 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI - You may remember the fire from back in September at the Middlecoff apartments. It left 28 elderly residents without a home. At that time firefighters said because of the lack of staff, if another fire would have broken out they didn't think the Corpus Christi Fire Department could have done anything about it. This is an issue that still hasn't gone away.
According to the Fire Association President Carlos Torres, they are about 45 firefighters short of what they should be.
Torres says it's because, "Corpus Christi has become a training ground for firefighter paramedics."
This is because when we train our firefighters they are also being trained to be a paramedic, which is something bigger cities find very valuable.
"When people are recruiting in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, El Paso, they seek Corpus Christi graduates," said Torres.
Leaving us with a lack of bodies to man our fire department. The Fire Chief says we lose about 15 to 20 people a year.
While some of the losses are due to retirement, many are from people taking the higher paying jobs in bigger cities. The annual salary for a Corpus Christi firefighter is about $46,000 a year. While the annual salary for a Austin firefighter is about $49,000 and a Dallas firefighter/paramedic is $51,000.
With less men on trucks comes a higher chance of someone getting hurt. So the city says they are coming up with a solution.
"We are going to have 34 Cadets start in January to help address the staffing issues," said Fire Chief Robert Rocha.
While Torres says this still won't be enough the city says this is the best they can do right now.
Chief Rocha says in addition to the new cadet class, he is also proposing to have a new class every year of about 15 to 20 people to help combat their constant loss of people.
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