STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) - Restaurants and local businesses struggle to find workers as the coronavirus worsens, but agencies charged with keeping people safe are also feeling the hiring woes.
“It’s just as stressful as COVID,” said Starkville Fire Chief Charles Yarbrough.
Starkville Fire Department. Photo taken: August 12, 2021.
Yarbrough has been chief at the Starkville Fire Department (SFD) for six years.
Since then, he's never been so short-staffed.
“We have to have a certain amount of people on shift per day so it cuts back on people being off," said Yarbrough. "It affects everything.”
There are currently 60 employees at SFD, including administration.
In order to be comfortable, Yarbrough said he needs to hire eight more firefighters.
He believes a big factor in the shortage is the pandemic.
The fire chief said it's frustrating being short-staffed, but more importantly, it could be dangerous.
“My number one goal is the safety of the citizens of the city of Starkville and also the safety of my personnel," he explained. "When we run short sometimes it can put our guys' lives in danger and also it can put the public in danger.”
If you feel like this might be your calling and you want to join SFD, you can apply online at https://www.cityofstarkville.org/393/Become-a-Firefighter.
You can also call the fire department at (662)323-1212 to learn more information.