PORTAGE - The Portage Fire Department is making significant changes to its hiring process, aimed at adapting to the challenges posed by the pandemic and modernizing its recruitment strategies. 

These changes are designed to make the application process more accessible and appealing to a broader range of candidates. 

A New Era of Recruitment 

The events of 9/11, although tragic, had a profound impact on recruitment, inspiring many to see firefighting as a calling. However, the recent pandemic has created new challenges for recruitment in the fire service sector. 

To adapt, the Portage Fire Department has revamped its hiring process, moving from an annual hiring cycle to up to three hiring processes per year.

 "We recognize times have changed, and we need to evolve to continue attracting the best candidates to serve our community," said Fire Chief Randy Wilkening. "These changes are not just about filling positions; they're about finding individuals who see this job as a calling and are committed to public safety." 

Simplified and Streamlined Testing

The department has also simplified its testing requirements. Swim and ladder climb tests, previously repeated for every hiring process, will now be valid for a year. Written tests, which also used to be done every hiring process, will now be valid for two years and can be scheduled anytime regardless of when the next process starts. 

Age Requirements 

Adjusted In a significant move to broaden the hiring pool, the age requirements for applicants have been adjusted. Previously set at 21-35 years, the eligible age range has now been expanded to 18-40 years at time of hire. 

Transparency and Outreach 

The Portage Fire Department is leveraging its website and other digital platforms to reach out to potential candidates.

 "We're committed to transparency. Our website will provide all the information candidates need, from the hiring process to the numerous benefits of a career with the Portage Fire Department," said Wilkening. 

Join Us 

If you're passionate about a career in public safety and want to be part of a team that values excellence, transparency, and community, visit www.beportagefire.org to learn more about the department’s updated hiring process and to apply online.

For more information, please contact: Randy Wilkening, Fire Chief, Portage Fire Department, [email protected] or (219) 762-7404