The Fort Worth Fire Department must be doing something right: On September 25, the department welcomed its newest class of recruits at Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex to start their Fire Training Academy journey, a 36-week course.
With 60 recruits, the class is twice the size as the usual Academy class — making it the largest recruit class in the history of the department.
The class of 60 includes two sub-groups:
- The first group, Class 93, consists of 10 "fast-tracked" students who already hold their Fire and EMS certifications. They'll graduate on November 17.
- The second group, Class 94, consists of 50 brand new recruits who hold no certifications. They'll graduate on May 17, 2024.
This largest class in the history of the Fort Worth Fire Department comes after the Mayor, City Council and City Management’s vote to approve staffing levels where they need to be for a Department serving a city this size.
In August, a fire ad-hoc committee recommended increasing the fire department's staffing with 76 new positions, from 979 to 1,049 positions - particularly to cut back on overtime costs, racked up due to an increase in the number of special events they are called on to cover.
The recommendation called for the department to take on two 50-person recruitment classes, one in September and one in February, with approximately 25 percent predicted to fall out due to attrition, for a total of 76.
In addition to the increased number of recruits attending the Academy, staffing studies and negotiations with City leadership and stakeholders has made room for an additional 15 people to be added to the training team. These new training instructors, as well as the use of adjunct instructors from within the Department, will provide even more skill-based learning opportunities with experienced and tenured firefighters.
In a statement, Chief JIm Davis said, "I want to thank the Mayor, City Council and City Management for their diligence in seeing us through our staffing study and helping make the necessary adjustments to our staffing levels. I’m excited that the Department is growing alongside the City of Fort Worth and look forward to watching the new recruits go through one of the best training academy’s in the country."