Perryton Facing Fire Fighter Shortage

There is a big problem in Perryton, the city is in the midst of a fireifghter shortage and the going is about to get even tougher.

NC10's Blaire Arvin went to Perryton today to find out about the problem.

The fire department here right now is at half-staff... There are 5 paid firefighters employed but they need 10.  An even bigger shortage is one firefighter has turned in his two-week notice. 

Jared Smith is strapping up ...putting on his gear for one of his last days as a Perryton firefighter. " It's just sad that I have to leave I'm gonna miss it...I'm gonna miss it a lot. "

After six months of working here he has decided to quit. Being away from his fiancé and the stresses of the job were just too much. For one thing he says he's always on-call.  "On call every single day can't leave the city limits, pretty much always on call. "

And smith says that's the same for all of his co-workers. "It's really stressful you are constantly under fire you can't sit back and relax. You are always worried about getting called out. "

City Manager David Landis says it is a constant battle keeping and retaining emergency personnell because Pperryton has a double-certified department. "We have certified firefighters and they have to grow to the paramedic level . We're running fire fighters and EMS. "

To reward all of the men's hard work the City gave them a 30% bonus back in June but because they hired on some part time EMS personell that bonus was then dropped to 20%. And now that Smith has put in his two weeks employees are getting that 10% back. 

Smith hopes the city fixes the shortage and despite the stresses he's endured he's still proud to be a firefighter. "This is going to be my career for the rest  of my life. There is not anything else like it."

The city has hired a team to study what it is going to take to keep firefighters here...meantime residents need not worry there is also a volunteer department to help out when an emergency arises.

Now the Amarillo fire department is also facing shortages of it's own. Coming up tonight on NightCast we'll tell you about it.