Rockdale Fire looking for new recruits

CONYERS — Rockdale County Fire Rescue is looking for a dozen or so new recruits who are looking for a career in fire services.

Chief Dan Morgan said the department launched a recruiting effort Monday that he hopes will draw as many as 300 to 400 applications. From that pool, Morgan said he expects 200 to sit for a series of exams, 150 to 200 to make it through the physical agility testing, and 75 to 100 to make it to the interview process.

Morgan said he ultimately hopes to fill 10 to 12 entry-level positions. The hiring process is expected to last through October, with a tentative start date for those selected in early November.

Because of the number of applicants expected and the amount of testing involved in the hiring process, Morgan said it will take that long to select the best candidates.

The hiring process begins with an application and an entry-level firefighter written exam. Those who successfully complete the exam will go on to the physical agility test, which will be given at the Parker Road facility. During that test “we will have everything that a firefighter would do during the training phase,” said Morgan. “Chopping a hole in a roof, carrying a ladder, dragging hose, climbing stairs with a hose. After that they will have another type of written test, a situational assessment.”

Morgan said all testing will be validated and graded by an outside professional organization.

Applicants who successfully complete the first phase will go on for an oral interview with a panel of representatives from Rockdale Fire Rescue.

“From all that testing and interviews, we will develop a hiring pool and they will be ranked within that pool on how they did on the testing,” Morgan said. “Then they will be offered conditional job offers to the number that we would need to get that 10 or 12 (new hires).”

Those who receive conditional offers must then pass criminal background, polygraph and drug testing, as well as a physical exam and reference checks.

Morgan said the hiring process isn’t intended to be intimidating. “No one part of it is meant to cut anybody out,” he said. “It’s meant to show what you can do.”

He said it’s also important that applicants understand there is an expectation that they would physically be able to rescue a fellow firefighter or civilian if necessary.

The application period will be open through July 25 and applications are available online at www.rockdalecounty.org.

In addition, RCFR will host an open house from 1 to 8 p.m. Monday, June 16, at the fire department headquarters at 1496 Rockbridge Road. Interested applicants will be able to ask questions about the hiring process, salary and benefits, and what is involved in a career as a firefighter. Computers will be available for those who want to apply but may not have other access to a computer.

Morgan said the department will receive applications from across the country, but he’s interested in hiring locally as well.

“We are making a push this year because we do have 10 or 12 openings to get as many local people as possible,” Morgan said. He noted that it is a “distinct advantage” for fire and police agencies to hire locally because those employees know the people and the geographic area and are better able to respond in emergency situations.

Morgan said the job openings are the result of retirements and firefighters moving to other careers and to other departments.

During the application period, every fire station in the county will have informational brochures explaining the hiring process and other information about a career as a Rockdale County firefighter.

For more information, contact RCFR headquarters at 770-278-8401 or Rockdale County Human Resources at 770-278-7575.