Missouri firefighter recruitment ad promises 'low pay, cool helmets'

The Scott County Rural Fire Protection District had a tongue-in-cheek way of drawing potential recruit's attention. (Photo: Facebook)

fire department in Missouri is enjoying a bit of viral fame after their recruitment ad promised prospective new firefighters "low pay" and "cool helmets."

“In emergency services, we deal with so much negativity. Bad news travels faster than good news," Scott County Rural Fire Protection District Chief Jeremy Perrien tells Yahoo Lifestyle. So, Perrien and his colleagues decided to "try some humor" to help fill their current vacancies on the squad.

As a result, they put up signs that read, "Help wanted. Hard labor, odd hours, low pay. Cool helmet" outside of their stations, and the tongue-in-cheek listing has proved to be a clever way to confront problems regarding recruitment.

"It’s hard to get people to volunteer in today’s time — I think the economy has something to do with that," Perrien tells Yahoo, adding that the shortage of firefighters is a national crisis. But a larger problem is finding quality applicants.

"Is it a job, or is it a title?" is a question Perrien often asks himself, and encourages every chief to ask, during the hiring process. He emphasizes the importance of ethics and professionalism, as opposed to a person who may be interested in volunteering for the status a badge would provide.

“I’m literally called the [a******] fire chief in the area, and I’m good with that," Perrien jokes. "If that’s what it takes to find good firefighters. The people we do take on… I would say we have a 90 percent success rate. They know what they’re getting into, they know the expectations, and they know the strict rules.”

The sign has been gaining traction on social media and has already yielded results. "We have received four applicants in the past week,” Perrien says. “We have not tested or reviewed the applications, but at least there are applications.”

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