Why 10 Local Firefighters joined the Fire Dept. and how YOU can too!

WKYT | Lexington Fire Department

Sponsored - The following content is created on behalf of the Lexington Fire Department and does not reflect the opinions of Gray Media or its editorial staff. To learn more about the Lexington Fire Department, visit lexingtonfiredepartment.com.

Today, the Lexington Fire Department provides fire and EMS services to nearly 285 square miles and over 320,000 people. The Lexington Fire Department is the largest single fire department in Kentucky and is continuously seeking individuals who are driven to serve the community! Meet 10 Lexington Fire Department members to see why they chose this career. Click the link next to each one to read further into their story and stay current on LFD hiring information, or visit lexingtonfiredepartment.com to start the process today:

1. Firefighter Andy Carter – Firefighter Carter has always called Lexington home and has deep roots in this community. He is a fourth generation first responder, and his family has served this great city since 1929. He says the best thing about working for the LFD are the people, and paired with his background in ministry, he now works with the Support Team with peers to assist when they are having a hard time. “This has become a passion of mine. Being able to help the current members of the LFD as well as the retirees has been truly rewarding.”

2. Captain Zach Ferguson – Captain Ferguson admits that he struggled initially when trying to figure out what line of work but knew that he wanted to have a career that gave him purpose. He changed colleges four times and changed his major even more before applying for and getting hired by the LFD. When he began his career in the fire service, he found that his purpose is helping others, which is far more rewarding that he could have ever anticipated. His favorite part of the job is the people. For anyone potential interested in a career with the LFD, he recommends taking advantage of opportunities like participating in the departments ride along program and the Citizens’ Fire Academy. They are free programs to learn about the department and its operations.

3. Firefighter Joe Livingston – Before working for the LFD, Firefighter Livingston worked in the school system and held a second job as a bartender. Although fun, he didn’t enjoy the desk work or the schedule. Furthermore, it didn’t fulfill his desire for something more. Firefighter Livingston wanted a job serving the community and desired to make a difference in the lives of the people around him. After being hired, he reports one of the best things to come from landing his career with the LFD was the effect it had on his family by allowing him to be present while providing for them. He says, “I am proud to be a paramedic and grateful the LFD has provided me with the opportunity to give back to the community where I grew up.”

4. Captain Jason Picklesimer – Captain Pickelsimer served in the military for 8 years, the sense of camaraderie and selfless service he experienced in the military was something he wanted to continue, and he felt like he could find that in the fire service. After years of working in a factory, his wife encouraged him to take the leap and get back to a career he enjoyed. So, Captain Picklesimer began work with the LFD while going to Paramedic School. His advice for anyone considering a career with the LFD is to take advantage of the endless opportunities. Service to the community, opportunities for advancement, and an extended family beyond those you have at home are just a few available. He says, “It’s a career where I can truly say that I love coming to work knowing that each day will bring something a little different.”

5. Firefighter Blair Cook – While she had no prior firefighting experience, she did work as an EMT where she gained valuable experience and met other women who had become Lexington Firefighters which inspired her to finally apply herself. She had always heard the fire department was like a second family, and that experience has been true for her as well. She says, “If you’re struggling with something on or off the job, there’s always someone around to give you a hand.”

6. Captain Kevin Deweese - Before coming to the LFD, Captain Deweese was a strength and conditioning coach, working with collegiate and professional athletes on performance readiness and injury prevention. Captain Deweese is a great example of a member who serves the department even away from the truck. He has served as a training officer overseeing the recruit firefighter fitness program. This allowed him to continue pursuing his passion for fitness. His advice for anyone thinking about applying is, “Don’t wait. Train yourself to be disciplined, and practice integrity in everything you do.”

7. Firefighter Cali Warta – From figure skater to men’s hockey, Firefighter Warta has never shied away from a challenge. She grew up in Alaska and moved to Kentucky when she was 11 years old. For three months after high school, she became a caretaker for her sick grandmother who was all alone in Scotland. Although this was a difficult season, Firefighter Warta says it inspired her to pursue more knowledge in the medical field. After taking advantage of the LFD’s ride along program and participating in the Citizens’ Fire Academy, she obtained her National Registry EMT certification. Her dedication and perseverance paid off when she was hired by the LFD. She doesn’t consider this just a job; she says she has a career where she can continue learning about what she loves. It has been, and will continue to be, the greatest experience of her life.

8. Captain Chris Rudd – Captain Rudd is from Bracken County, KY where he started as a volunteer firefighter with the Brooksville FD and the city of Maysville before pursing his dream of working for the LFD. He is a paramedic, hazardous materials technician, and highly skilled technical rescue specialist. His advice for anyone seeking a career with the LFD is, “Do it because you love it. This is a lifestyle.”

9. Firefighter Doug Mitchell – Firefighter Mitchell came from a small farm town in Illinois, and his passion for the fire service started at a young age. After enrolling at EKU and taking advantage of internships and volunteer opportunities with local fire departments, he became a firefighter/paramedic and says his favorite thing about working for the LFD are the relationships he has built and the experiences he has been afforded.

10. Major Wade Miracle – Growing up, Major Miracle was best friends with Chuck Williams, whose dad Charlie was a Lexington Firefighter. Major Miracle loved listening to Charlie talk about the job. That early introduction and lasting impact caused him to leave his job as an elementary school teacher and apply for the LFD. When asked what advice he has for someone considering a career in the fire service, he said, “Do it! Do a ride-along with a couple of crews. Listen to what they say. Get a feel if this is where your career pathway will lead. Where else can you go and get a free education on improving yourself, both physically and mentally? They pay us to become firefighters and paramedics! The good days far outweigh the bad days. If you have compassion and a zest to test yourself, then this job may be the one for you.”

The next application window opens January 1 and closes January 31, 2023. You can fill out a position interest form now, or anytime outside of the application window, to enter yourself into the database to be notified when the application process opens.

The hiring process consists of two phases and takes approximately 12 months to complete. Once hired, recruit firefighters earn over $46,000/yr. Through various promotional opportunities, wages can reach $100,000+/yr. Benefits also include health, dental, & vision insurance, 25-year retirement plan, 401K and 457 options, tuition reimbursement, and promotional opportunities.

If you have a passion to change lives within your community, now is the time to take the first step by talking to one of our recruiters! Call 859-280-8926, email LFDhiring@lexingtonky.gov, or visit lexingtonfiredepartment.com to learn more.

WKYT | Lexington Fire Department