Fire department opens application process

NAUGATUCK — For the first time in several years, the career Naugatuck Fire Department is opening up its application process to the masses.

An applicant doesn’t need to be a certified firefighter, nor does the applicant need to have a background in firefighting, although those credentials wouldn’t hurt.

The only eligibility requirements are that the applicant has a high school diploma or G.E.D., a valid Connecticut driver’s license, is a U.S. citizen and must have taken the Candidate Physical Ability Test at the time of a conditional job offer.

The borough is also giving more points to people who are Naugatuck residents, although that is not a requirement either. Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess says he wants to attract good candidates from Naugatuck and, in fact, the job description states Naugatuck residents are urged to apply.

Applications are being accepted through midnight May 27. They must be completed at www.firefighterapp.com/naugatuck. No paper applications are being accepted. The application fee is $35.

The starting base salary, not including overtime, is $50,361 annually.

Naugatuck has seen a few recent hires leave for other career departments that have better retirement plans. Naugatuck used to offer a defined pension plan that has seen several recent retirees leave with annual pensions between $70,000 and $90,000 a year or, in rare cases, more. New hires will have a defined benefit plan, which is similar to a 401(K), and will likely be far less, depending on the stock market. Several other career departments around the state still have pension plans.

The call for anyone to apply for the job is the biggest shift in focus for officials who want to keep talented firefighters. In recent years, the borough has chosen firefighters off a list of those already certified.

If hired, the candidate will serve 12 months probation and must complete a 14-month Recruit Training Program at the Connecticut Fire Academy, unless he or she has completed it within the past five years.

Written and oral exams will be in June and July. Applicants will be notified of the date, time and location once the finalists have been set.