Duluth Fire Chief Talks Diversity and Hiring on International Firefighters’ Day

DULUTH, Minn.–With an unprecedented number of fire calls during the pandemic last year, the Duluth Fire Department continues to face an uphill climb in 2021.

Fire Chief Shawn Krizaj says International Firefighters Day is great recognition for those on the front lines, but right now the department does have some concerns about the future interest in firefighting as a career. Seven new fire fighters have recently been hired at the station, but the chief says numbers are way down from previous years.

“We’ve really kind of changed into a recruiting attitude or more of a information; you know how do we get out our information, how do we tell you what its like to be a firefighter or how do we sell to you that you want to be a Duluth firefighter,” said Krizaj.

Having a diverse pool of candidates is also an issue the Department faces with a goal of having a field of firefighters from all types of backgrounds.

“So were still having those challenges, but that’s one of the big things that you know we’re working on is how do we get that message out there, how do we get more diversity, how do we get more women involved, more people of color involved,” said Krizaj.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has hindered the department’s community involvement, a new push is underway to highlight what they do to hopefully recruit and retain more employees.

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