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FDNY Fires Up New Recruitment Campaign

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The New York City Fire Department today unveiled a new print and radio ad campaign as it prepares to take on a new class of firefighters for the first time in years.

The department is looking to get a lot of people interested in taking the firefighter entrance exam, tentatively scheduled for January.

More than $1 million will be spent on advertising the test.

Speaking at Engine 37/Ladder 40 in Harlem, Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano said being a firefighter is the greatest job in the world.

"In the first year an FDNY firefighter will earn about $40,000. That's just the start. And that salary can increase to up to $100,00 in five year. Let me repeat that, up to $100,000 in five years. You get excellent health benefits and medical benefits for you and your family, and you enjoy those medical benefits for the rest of your life," Cassano said.

The FDNY has been unable to hire any firefighters since 2007 because a federal judge ruled the last three exams discriminated against blacks and Hispanics.

A new test is being worked on.

Of the more than 10,000 current firefighters only nine percent are black or Hispanic; one percent are Asian.

There are also only 29 female firefighters.

Fire recruiters say they have already attended about 6,000 events around the city over the last year and a half.

"We are quite optimistic with this opportunity being presented to city residents but we'd like to take it a step further and ask city residents to follow through. The fire department is advertising but you would have to follow through," said John Coombs of the Vulcan Society.

"Be proactive. Check the websites to see when the exam is going to take place, call the different organizations. I'm a member of the Hispanic society and the women's society. I was in contact with both of them figuring out what my next step would be," said Firefighter Sophy Medina.

Applicants must sign up by September 15th.

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