Home Online Work Wilmington-area fire departments, EMTs work to fill vacancies

Wilmington-area fire departments, EMTs work to fill vacancies


Staffing shortages at some area fire departments have left staff stressed, overworked and looking to hire new recruits.

In the past year, staffing shortages have made it increasingly common to see firefighters and emergency medical services workers log more than 100 hours in overtime each month.

Gary Poirier, director of human resources with Pender County EMS and Fire, said some are occasionally working 100-hour weeks. 

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“It’s really causing a strain,” he said. “You can do that day in and day out for only so long.”

A higher-than-normal number of vacancies at some area fire and rescue agencies — for COVID-19 and non-COVID-related reasons — have left staff stressed and overworked, and recruitment has proved challenging.

Update: Cause of New Hanover home fire under investigation

Until about a year ago, Poirier said, the department enjoyed close to full employment, but staffing for both fire and emergency medical services in the county is “a real issue right now.” 

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