As a driver-engineer with Huntsville Fire & Rescue, Dennis Allmon never has trouble finding motivation to come to work.
“I find lots of meaning and fulfillment in my job, so I never not look forward to going to work,” he said.
The east Tennessee native joined the department seven years ago as a firefighter. He transitioned from his active-duty role with the U.S. Army to a fast-paced career filled with comradery, action and excitement.
Looking back at his time with Huntsville Fire & Rescue, Allmon said he has no regrets.
“It gives you a sense of meaning,” he said. “It feels like I’m doing something good with my life.”
Making a difference
Allmon’s primary role is to safely transport crews and equipment to emergency scenes. With extensive knowledge of his assigned district, Allmon can effectively navigate an emergency vehicle to a scene under ever-changing conditions.
When pumping water at a fire scene, Allmon calculates and maintains appropriate water pressure for hose lines used by his crew. At the start of each shift, he meticulously reviews each tool and function of his assigned fire truck.
This daily inspection includes starting chainsaws, checking fluids, ensuring lights and sirens are functioning properly, and confirming the fire pump or ladder is operational. Due to the abundance of responsibility, driver-engineers are constantly training and preparing for every situation that might come their way.
“When I first got hired on, like everyone, I was a firefighter,” Allmon said. “It was good to learn what the firefighter-level job took, so that now, as a driver-engineer, I make sure our guys have what they need so they can be effective at their jobs.”
Hiring effort underway
Huntsville Fire & Rescue recently kicked off its first round of hiring for the year. To ensure Fire & Rescue reflects the demographics and values of the community, the department is taking intentional steps to bring the best candidates with the strongest character on board.
Allmon is one of many Fire & Rescue employees who go above and beyond to help their team and community thrive. He encourages anyone interested in a challenge to apply.
“It’s not just a job – it’s a career,” he said. “I don’t know that there is a better one.”
It’s not just a job – it’s a career. I don’t know that there is a better one.”
Candidates can apply to be a firefighter or public safety dispatcher until Tuesday, Aug. 31. Anyone interested in a firefighter or dispatcher role can visit joinhuntsvillefireandrescue.com to learn more about the hiring process.
Why you should apply
To be considered, candidates must have no convicted felonies, be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED.
The process of becoming a firefighter takes about six months from start to finish. In addition to a civil service exam, applicants must pass the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT), which measures their ability to handle the physical demands of being a firefighter.
Candidates have three chances to pass the CPAT. After that, an interview with the applicant helps to determine whether the City wants to make an offer.
Pay is equal to or exceeds the industry standard in the geographical area for both rookie cadets and lateral transfers. Competitive benefits include a retirement plan administered by the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA), a flexible work schedule, cost-effective health insurance, and advancement opportunities.
Although fire suppression is a critical part of the department, it’s not the only thing Fire & Rescue employees do. Dispatchers are also an important piece of the public safety puzzle.
“Throughout their career, Huntsville firefighters have the opportunity to join a number of teams,” said Fire & Rescue Chief Mac McFarlan. “Those who don’t want to run into a burning building may consider applying to be a public safety dispatcher. This behind-the-scenes job is less physical, but it is the first line of defense in an emergency.”
With help from Recruiter Cory Green, Fire & Rescue is taking a grassroots approach to find applicants from every race, ethnicity, gender and socioeconomic background. That means attracting, hiring and retaining a wide range of cadets who reflect the community as a whole.
When citizens look at their Fire & Rescue department, Allmon said it’s important they see people who look like them.
“Diversity shows people who might potentially be a firefighter one day that this is a job they could have,” said Allmon, who is Asian American.
To learn more about the hiring process and complete your application, please visit joinhuntsvillefireandrescue.com. Candidates can also email Green at Cory.Green@HuntsvilleAL.gov for more information or to ask questions.