JOBS: For Black Firefighters

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Washington says the starting pay is between $32,000 to $33,000. “The salary rises each year until five years when you reach the top salary of $80,000 a year. You get full medical and dental coverage,� he says


(The Vulcan's Paul Washington, left, shown with State Senator Kevin Parker).

The President of the Vulcans, the organization of Black firefighters within the New York Fire Department (FDNY) is urging young African Americans to come forward and take the fire fighters’ exam before the recruitment period ends October 13.

There are only 335 Black fire fighters out of a total force of 11,500, or only 2.9%, Washington says, calling the condition deplorable. He notes however that this time around the Fire department has increased its recruitment effort.

Still, Washington would like to see more advertisements in Black newspapers and radio. He also calls for more posters and billboards in African American neighborhoods to boost recruitment. Washington urges all potential African American fire fighters to call (718) 999-FDNY to ask for application forms. Anyone call and have the application forms sent to them to distribute to young African Americans. The requirements include at least 15 college credits or six months of any kind of work experience.

“It’s a great job,� Washington notes. “You name me a another job that is thoroughly dominated by whites that is not a good job. Every young Black New Yorker needs to come and take this test. And older New Yorkers have to get an application form into the hands of younger ones and make sure that they apply.�

Minimum age requirement is 17 1/2 and the applicant must not have reached 29 as of August 7, 2006, unless they have military service in which case those years are deducted up to a maximum of 6.

Washington says the starting pay is between $32,000 to $33,000. “The salary rises each year until five years when you reach the top salary of $80,000 a year. You get full medical and dental coverage,� he says, adding that retirement and pension follows 20 years in the job. Moreover, the shifts are flexible—after working straight for 24 hour shifts, fire fighters get three days off, he notes.

To monitor the level of success of the current recruitment drive, the New York City Council will on September 20, hold a 11 AM hearing. Separately, the Vulcans will have a news conference outside City Hall at 1:30 PM.

Editor’s Note: Readers, please e-mail this to all young African Americans you know in New York City or call for the application forms and distribute them to young people you know.

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