Helena City Commissioners held a swearing in ceremony for nine new firefighters at the City County building on Monday.
For the first time in Helena history, the fire department now has 36 firefighters.
According to Helena Fire Chief Ken Wood, it’s been 40 years since the department was able to increase their staff.
Seth Banham, Cody Edens, Isaac Scansen, Dylan Braach, Austin Shupe, Paxton Miller-Fitzpatrick, Jeffrey Murphy, Michael Fobert, and Joseph Pigeon, were all sworn in by Mayor Wilmot Collins during the meeting.
Wood told MTN that over the years, emergency fire calls have increased, and in 2018, the fire department asked for support from the city, with a specified mill levy to increase their staff and capital budget to perform necessary maintenance on fire trucks and other equipment.
The levy passed by a staggering 70 percent, funding 6 hires. Three others are replacing retirees.
Wood stated, “We’re very excited, yeah. Yes, it’s absolutely amazing the difference that two people every day on a shift makes. We are able to get our daily duties done sooner which enables us to get trainings sooner. We can be more effective during training—whereas in the past, we would have to send two people out on a medical call during training, which would reduce our staffing.”
Now, the Helena Fire Department is able to serve the community in a more timely fashion.