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Residency requirement being rewritten at Wadena Fire Department

The city of Wadena is reviewing the rules of the Wadena Fire Department related to where a person must live in order to serve as a firefighter.

It's no longer location, location, location. It's attendance, attendance, attendance.

The issue arose when two firefighters went to fight in Iraq, and returned home to find work in Detroit Lakes. Because of the way the fire department rules were set up, they were no longer eligible to be firefighters in Wadena, City Administrator Brad Swenson explained.

That prompted a review of the rules with the League of Minnesota Cities, and the city had to change the job requirements.

"You cannot tell people where to live and work," Swenson said. "But you can have restrictions that tell people that in order to be firemen, you have to meet percentages."

That means firefighters will have to make a certain percentage of training operations and show up to a certain percentage of fire calls. If a firefighter lives in Wadena but works elsewhere, or vice versa, it doesn't matter as long as they are able to respond often enough, Swenson explained.