Hermantown Fire Department continues the move to a new hybrid model

Hermantown Fire Department moving towards their transition to a hybrid model

A look at the progress that Hermantown's Fire Department is making to change their model.

For 70 years, the city of Hermantown has been served by a volunteer fire department. They are proud of their service, but it became more challenging to sustain with only volunteers.

That’s why planning for the past year has lead to the transition to a hybrid model department.

It’s a combination of full time and part-time on-call firefighters who get paid.

Leaders provided an update on Wednesday. They’ve hired over a dozen part-time firefighters, and are looking for more.

Training Officer Steve Johnson said, “What we want to do with that is we want to make that commitment not feel like an obligation or make them feel guilty about not answering a call. So by setting this new model up, we hope to promote that community service and that pride of what a volunteer firefighter really feels.”

He and Chief Zach Graves were both part of the volunteer department as well, and are members of the 148th Fighter Wing.

They’ll work with Chief Jim Crace, who is also now the Director of Public Safety for Hermantown.

“People are motivated by different things. Some are motivated by doing service to their community and volunteering, and other folks are motivated by, you know, extra compensation. So we think we’re kind of a hybrid between that,” he explained.

And there will be some shared efficiencies between the departments now, like training, for example.

The estimated compensation is about $6000 a year, if you pick up 3 shifts a month. Plus retirement benefits, paid training, and you can take home a vehicle when you’re on call.

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