JERSEY CITY – Mayor Steven M. Fulop, Public Safety Director James Shea, and Fire Chief Darren Rivers, today swore in 19 new firefighters during a ceremony at City Hall as the Fulop Administration continues to make significant investments in public safety. The new class of firefighters is the fifth sworn in since Mayor Fulop took office, having hired 99 new firefighters to bring the department to a total of 568 members. The new class, which is comprised entirely of veterans, is also the first to be fully EMT-certified.
“As we welcome this new class of firefighters, we recognize them for their commitment to service and for choosing a career that ensures the safety of their fellow neighbors,” said Mayor Fulop. “Investing in public safety has been our top priority, adding personnel and resources, however, we will always strive to do more to bring the highest level of services to Jersey City, such as adding EMT training so our firefighters have even more life-saving tools.”
As the Fulop Administration continues to invest in public safety, they have also made diversity recruitment a priority, hiring the department’s first African-American female and the first two Hispanic female firefighters. The new class sworn in today includes two African-American firefighters, three Hispanic firefighters and one Asian firefighter. Of the 99 new firefighters hired, 11 have been African American, 19 Hispanic and four Asian.
Last summer, the diversity recruitment drive led to more than 2,000 applicants representing a diverse group of Jersey City residents from throughout the city applying to take the firefighter exam. In addition to actively recruiting in the community, the City also offered free test prep courses to ensure that all residents had the best opportunity at performing well on the exam.
“In Jersey City, we understand the value and importance of having our public safety personnel reflect the community they serve,” said Director Shea. “That is why we have taken the extra measures to promote the career within the community and provide the tools and resources to ensure our applicants succeed.”
The new firefighters sworn in today – who are the 634th class in the Fire Department’s 145-year history – completed ten weeks of training at the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy, followed by two weeks of training in Jersey City.
The class is also the first to be fully EMT-certified, as the firefighters underwent EMT training as part of their fire academy courses. The EMT training was covered through a $62,500 federal SAFER grant that was awarded to the department. The administration plans to expand EMT training to all new firefighters.
The hiring of up to 49 of the new firefighters by Mayor Fulop was made possible by funds from a $6.9 million federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant. Between the new hires under the SAFER grant and internal staffing policy changes since 2013, the City has had more fire companies on duty in the last two years than in the prior eight years.
“Today we welcome and congratulate the newest members of our Jersey City Fire Department family,” said Fire Chief Darren Rivers. “What you have chosen is not only a career, but a lifelong opportunity to serve your community.”