A push is on to find about a dozen new volunteer firefighters as Mankato moves forward with plans to build two new fire stations.

Anyone who has thought about being a volunteer firefighter is being encouraged to fill out an online application at the city’s website. Firefighters are required to live within 10 miles of any fire station, have a high school diploma, complete a physical assessment test and pass medical and background screenings.

“It’s a terrific way for people to give back to the community,” said Jeff Bengtson, Department of Public Safety deputy director. “There’s a lot of camaraderie that goes on and a lot of exciting training the comes with it, too.”

The department is looking for both non-residential and residential volunteers. Non-residential volunteers agree to staff stations one to three nights per month. Residential volunteers live at a station.

The new station, expected to open this fall, will be at the intersection of Augusta and Premiere drives, which is at the northeast edge of Mankato near Wickersham Clinic. Another new station is already under construction at what will be the new Department of Public Safety building downtown.

“Now is a great time to join our team because our fire service facilities in public safety are being upgraded,” Bengtson said.

Although the positions are for volunteer firefighters, there is nominal compensation. A $25 fee is paid for each staffing shift and an additional $25 is paid for each call a firefighter responds to while on duty. Volunteers are required to respond to at least 50 percent of pages while they are off duty, but they are paid $50 for each of those calls.

Volunteers who meet all the call requirements each year also are paid a $1,400 bonus after their first year. That amount increases to $5,200 after 10 years of service.

After an application is submitted, qualified candidates will be called for an interview. Those selected will be required to complete six timed tests, including climbing stairs and dragging hoses.

Anyone with questions can call Department of Public Safety staff at 387-8703.

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