Roswell swears in 21 fire captains as department shifts to full-time model

Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 10:15 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - On Friday, the City of Roswell swore in twenty-one full-time fire captains to serve its seven fire stations.

“We put a lot of care into selecting the 21 and making sure they were going to be the foundational step for the future of the Roswell Fire Department,” said Fire Chief Joe Pennino.

The swear-in ceremony was the first step in the five-year plan to transition the department from a part-time model to a full-time model.

On Friday, Mayor Kurt Wilson said Roswell was the largest city in the country still operating with a part-time fire staff.

Chief Pennino said Roswell’s firefighters also serve roughly twenty-one other departments across metro Atlanta.

He said the move to a full-time model will improve staffing consistency.

“Transitioning with the support of this mayor and council from the part-time model to the full-time model over a 5-year period is really going to be huge for public safety in the city of Roswell and this was the first step. This is the foundation,” said Pennino, in an interview with Atlanta News First.

A recent audit by the fire department found that calls for service have increased by roughly 40 percent in Roswell over the last decade.

The move to a full-time model will cost the City roughly $5.3 million. In an interview in July, Roswell City Councilmember Lee Hills said this investment will be spread out over the five-year transition plan.

“It wasn’t a punch in the gut or the pocketbook for our residents. This was a way we could stomach that easily,” said Hills.

Chief Pennino said they’ll add roughly thirty full-time staff members each year over the next four years.

In 2023, Chief Pennino said they’ll hire three additional battalion chiefs, nine lieutenants, and twelve paramedics.