HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The Madison County population is growing and so is the need for firefighters. 

It’s recruitment time for Huntsville Fire & Rescue, the oldest fire department in the state. Jontae Cotton told News 19 that he always had it in his heart to become a firefighter and he’s among the 75 applicants who attended recruitment night on Tuesday to give it a shot. 

“The salary is good and just seeing the cool big trucks and stuff and running into burning buildings and helping to save lives,” said Cotton. 

With more people moving into Huntsville, the emergency response calls will increase. Now with the increasing threat of wildfires, Captain Cory Green says the projected rise in 9-1-1 calls creates an opportunity for those who desire to join the city’s rescue ranks. 

“After the pandemic, we had a little bit of a drop-off and we did fulfill some of those spots,” said Green. “But Huntsville is still going, and we want to make sure that we stay proactive and not reactive towards the change and so that’s why we’re looking to continue to hire and get more guys in.” 

Once the application is accepted, a written examination and a physical abilities test follow before an in-person interview.  After the official hire, it’s on to the fire academy for approximately six weeks to get an official certification.  

Firefighters receive several benefits including free equipment, training and retirement benefits. 

Cotton is hopeful to be among the finalists to be chosen. “I hope I’m able to pass the test and just buckle down and hang in there,” said Cotton. 

Huntsville Fire & Rescue will hold another Meet and Greet on November 4th. You can find more information here