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Northwest Fire District hiring, but seeing far fewer applicants

Posted at 10:24 PM, Apr 16, 2024

Marvin Snodgrass has worked for Northwest Fire District for seven out of his ten years in the firefighting industry. He’s a firefighter engineer and runs the academy as a trainer. He also conducts engineer testing and the engineer academies.

“It gives you that opportunity to give back to the community,” he said.

In 2021, NWFD said they made offers to 15 people and in 2022 they didn’t have an academy. They said in 2023 they made offers to 27 people and this year are hoping to get 15 new people.

“When you have that big field to choose from, you can get some really good applicants,” Snodgrass said.

However, he has seen a difference in the amount of applicants to the academy. In 2016, he said the district capped their applicants at one thousand people and actually hit that cap.

NFWD said they’re using social media to attract applicants. They said they’re not sure why they’ve gotten less applicants.

“When we hire someone, we’re hiring for….that’s what we need,” Snodgrass said.

The U.S. Census Bureau says there were about 17 thousand more people living in Marana in 2020 than in 2010.

With more people, Snodgrass says they’re getting more calls, which means they’re looking at the future of new stations.

The Tucson Fire Department told KGU9 two months ago they’re seeing about half of the applicants every time they open their recruitment process. They still want to recruit 40 people, their biggest class of firefighter recruits in years.

Snodgrass said NWFD is also attracting applicants with benefits like a pension, but he said a supportive team is also a benefit to his job.

“It’s more mission-driven, bigger picture thing you’re working towards, and the relationships you get to build,” he said.

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Andrew Christiansen is a reporter for KGUN 9. Before joining the team, Andrew reported in Corpus Christi, Texas for KRIS6 News, Action 10 News and guest reported in Spanish for Telemundo Corpus Christi. Share your story ideas with Andrew by emailing andrew.christiansen@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, or Twitter.