New Asheville Fire Department recruits join ranks early, adding preparedness during pandemic

Asheville fire recruits
Asheville Fire Chief Scott Burnette addresses the new recruits, thanking them for stepping up into service early. Following his remarks, Chief Burnette pinned their badges on the new firefighters.



On April 3, 15 new Asheville Fire Department recruits stepped up a bit early to join forces with our firefighters already on the job. The recruits of the 90th academy started their training in November and were set to graduate in May, which has been postponed for a later date. All of them have completed requirements to be certified NC Firefighters and EMTs.


Now they join AFD as additional hands to ensure the City of Asheville continues to provide the highest quality of service to our community especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


The new firefighter recruits join a wave of early graduations to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic nationwide. The health and safety of our community is the City of Asheville’s highest priority. 


This year’s graduating Harvard Medical School students have the option to receive their diplomas early so that, if they choose, they can quickly be deployed into hospitals where regular staff might soon be overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. Medical students from Boston University, Tufts University, and the University of Massachusetts, have also been given the option to receive their diplomas before their scheduled graduation date in May.


In Michigan, health care systems will soon have access to 87 baccalaureate-prepared nurses, 61 medical doctors and 213 osteopathic physicians. Michigan State University is working with the state’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) in expediting the licensure of health care professionals entering the workforce.


And in Asheville we now have 15 more AFD first responders to not only increase Asheville’s capacity to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency but to ensure minimum staffing and continue the highest level of quality of service to the people of Asheville post the pandemic.


“These firefighters are showing their strong dedication very early in their careers,” said Asheville Fire Chief Scott Burnette. “Our firefighters have always stepped up when needed for our community, and I am very proud of our newest firefighters for doing the same in this time of need.”


The Asheville Fire Department is now 280 strong with the addition of these new firefighters.