- a volunteer firefighter will go from $8.85 to $9.96 an hour
- a volunteer EMT will go from $9.29 to $10.46 an hour
- a volunteer paramedic will go from $10.65 to $11.99 an hour
- a volunteer firefighter/paramedic will go from $14.04 to $15.80 an hour
- a volunteer firefighter/EMT will go from $11.41 to $12.85 an hour
Fire & EMS Chief Jonathan Westendorf said Franklin has 36 to 38 paid volunteer firefighters on its roster. Franklin Fire & EMS has combined full-time career fighters and is supplemented by volunteer call and stand-by firefighters, EMTs and paramedics.
At Monday’s meeting, council met in executive session to discuss contract negotiations with its full-time career firefighters.
Westendorf said the city also has a program to help volunteer firefighters acquire EMT and paramedic certifications in exchange for a five-year commitment. He said the training costs for an EMT certification could be as much as $850 and as much as $8,000 to $11,000 for paramedic certification which takes more than 1-1/2 years to complete. Westendorf said about $1,500 a year is forgiven for each year of service to the city.
“It’s been very successful,” Westendorf told council. “Part of the challenge is staying the five years.”
A lot of volunteer firefighters will work for multiple fire departments, he said.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there were an estimated 29,727 fire departments in 2015, or 9 percent career/full-time fire departments; 6 percent mostly career fire departments; 18 percent mostly volunteer fire departments and 67 all-volunteer fire departments.
In 2015, there were an estimated 1.16 million firefighters in the U.S. — 345,600 career firefighters and 814,850 volunteer firefighters, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, which is an entity of the Homeland Security Department.