The Amherst Ways & Means Committee has shifted their position on additional training compensation for firefighters in the next fiscal year.
Their original position was that only driver training, monthly officer meetings and monthly training nights should be compensated for the department. Now, the committee recommends adding funding for probationary training, Level 1 training and Level 2 training pay.
Committee chairman Bob Brewster said in an email that the change was based on a recent discussion with members of the Amherst Board of Selectmen. He said that the changes would better support firefighter training.
Brewster said that the probationary training instructor should be paid in the same way as other instructors. The committee wanted to meet selectmen halfway by paying 50 percent of Level 1 firefighter training rather than the entire cost. For Level 2 training, the committee felt that this should be fully supported because the firefighter is now able to go into a burning building, thus risking their life.
Increased compensation for firefighters was originally proposed by Chair Bruce Bowler last month, who is calling for better wages and compensation to fire and EMS employees to improve recruitment and retention of quality personnel. Firefighters in similar New Hampshire towns are compensated for the time spent during mandatory training and meetings.