RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Raleigh Fire Department is working to fill dozens of positions, and Fire Chief Herbert Griffin is assuring residents that public safety is not at risk while the search continues.
"They're using scare tactics out there (and) fear mongering," said Griffin.
He is firing back at a post that's making its rounds on social media.
The Raleigh Professional Fire Fighters Association said in a Facebook post a few weekends ago that a staffing shortage lead to two companies to suspend service.
Griffin says it was fire trucks, not workers, that were out-of-service and that there are always enough first responders working at any given time.
"When the community calls, you will have a response. (Know) a truck that is coming with the most professional fire fighters this city has to offer," said Griffin.
Raleigh Professional Fire Fighters Association President Andy Davis, however, warns there could be other disruptions in the future and argues not enough is being done to retain those already on staff.
"We've been hemorrhaging employees at the same rate as we were all spring," said Davis. "They're bringing these employees in at a higher pay rate than 143 current Raleigh firefighters."
There are 68 firefighter openings right now.
The City says it is taking proactive steps to lure in new workers.
A new program was started for those who are already certified by the state and looking to make a transfer.
The starting salary is a little more than $49,000 and there's a signing bonus of $4,000.
"We have to find the most qualified candidates to fill these positions. Unfortunately, we can't just go out and get a firefighter in one day. That takes 6 months to do. So we created two avenues now to get them trained, and out there in the fields to serve the community at a much faster rate," said Griffin.