County: LAFD Offers Great Pay And incentives In Race To Boost Recruit Numbers


Amidst a nationwide shortage of firefighters, the Los Alamos Fire Department (LAFD) is seeking applicants to join their next recruit academy. The application deadline closes at the end of this month. LAFD officials say they are looking to train 20-plus firefighting and emergency medical services (EMS) applicants to fill anticipated vacancies.

Over the next few years, 20-30 percent of their firefighters will be eligible to retire. To boost the recruiting effort, this all-hazards response fire department is offering very competitive starting salaries, hiring bonuses ranging from $7,500-$15,000 over the first year, and the potential to average $15,000 in overtime while in the Academy.

According to Deputy Fire Chief Wendy Servey, the LAFD will also offer free dorm-style housing for recruits and, upon graduation, additional incentives are paid per hour for licensed EMTs and Paramedics in addition to their base pay. She explains that this is on top of a generous and comprehensive benefits package and the LAFD participates in the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) of New Mexico. She says LAFD firefighters are eligible to retire after completing 25 years of creditable service with a retirement pension.

“We are looking for individuals that expect a lot of themselves to join our fire family,” said Servey. Individuals with related (EMT, paramedic, fire) training and military training are often a good fit, as the department is contracted with the U.S. Department of Energy. However, she also encourages interested individuals with unrelated job experience to apply, as the department will train personnel. “We are looking at various skills that are important to making a great firefighter – for example, courage, great communication, teamwork, and patience,” Servey said, 

Servey says the deadline to apply is March 31, 2023. Academy #32 will start on July 24, 2023. LAFD is offering a practice session on April 22, 2023, for interested applicants to participate in a firefighter combat skills test which is part of the entrance exam. For more LAFD information, visit or call Los Alamos Fire Administration at 505-662-8301. Interested individuals can also apply on the Los Alamos County job listing webpage

LAFD carries a Class 1 ISO Public Protection Classification, a superior rating, and is an internationally accredited fire agency through the Center for Public Service Excellence (CSPE). Its response area serves 109 square miles in the mountainous terrain of Los Alamos County. Because the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is a priority in the LAFD response profile, additional training for nuclear-grade firefighting and a top-security clearance are required.