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Cambridge Deputy Fire Chief Will Pennings is looking forward to meeting potential firefighters during an informational hiring event who want to learn more about the job of a firefighter at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Cambridge Fire Hall. Photo by Sarv Mithaqiyan

The Cambridge Fire Department is seeking firefighters to join the team to help make a difference and save lives.

The department will be hosting an event for the community to learn more about the benefits, training, experience and hiring process of becoming a firefighter at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, in the Fire Hall at 300 Third Ave. NE. There will be live demonstrations and an opportunity for the attendees to ask questions they may have.

“We’d really like to get some in now,” Deputy Fire Chief Will Pennings said, alluding to the need for hiring firefighters before a shortage occurs in his department. “And it just has become apparent that it’s harder and harder — not just for Cambridge, but all over the country — to recruit and retain.”

Currently, the Fire Department is seeking applicants for paid-on-call firefighter positions who will perform firefighting tasks, rescue operations and other emergency responses. Paid-on-call firefighters are compensated $10 per hour at an emergency scene, $20 per drill and meeting attended, and a pension.

“Today’s age is just different,” Pennings said. “People don’t necessarily settle in a community and stay for 40 years or 50 years.”

Pennings said that about 20 years ago, farmers who did settle for many years in the community often volunteered as firefighters. In other words, the department never faced shortages in staff as much as recent times.

Firefighters who work together and come to know each other form a family-like bond, Pennings said. Whenever a person who’s serving in the Fire Department might need help fixing something in their house, if others hear about it, they will help right away, he said.

“You’re amongst brothers and sisters with us,” Pennings said. “You gain a new family. That’s how we are. That’s what happens after a well-spent 10 years together in the fire service. And we’ve seen a lot ... together and going on a lot of bad wrecks together. … We’re right there for you.”

The greatest reward of being a firefighter is making a difference, saving people’s lives and being part of a larger family in the community, Pennings said.

Those who are interested in learning more about the event or who may have questions can contact Fire Chief Todd Tomczik at toddtomczik@hotmail.com or 651-248-8388.

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