SPRING HILL, Tenn. (WKRN) — Fighting fires is not an easy job, but for thousands of men and women across Tennessee, it’s an important one.

“Unfortunately we are understaffed right now,” said Chief Graig Temple. “We’re missing about 13 firefighters.”

Temple is the newly-elected fire chief for Spring Hill and said his department needs more firefighters to keep up with the fast-growing city.

“Looking at the size of the department compared to the approved growth and also the planned growth, the department has to evolve,” he said.

That’s why on Monday evening, the city’s board of mayor and alderman voted unanimously to increase the fire department’s pay scale.

“Looking across Tennessee, this will definitely give us a big jump,” Temple said.

According to Temple, his staff will see a 13 percent increase.

“Everyone’s going to see and the line staff are going to see these improvements in their pay,” he said. “We’re doing a person by person assessment and then providing them a placement in our new pay scale.”

Temple said a new fire station is already in the works, and with the city’s continued growth, he knows the increase will help the department retain and hire more firefighters.

“Our department is looking at hiring 28 firefighters over the next several years in order to both staff that new station which will open in the end of 2024, as well as to correct the deficiencies we see today,” he said.

The pay scale will now be more competitive with surrounding departments, and the bump is something Temple believes is a step in the right direction.

“It’s going to give our firefighters what they need and again make this somewhere where they want to stay their entire career,” he said. “Also, it’s going to allow people from other departments to look at us and say, ‘I want to go to Spring Hill.'”

Those pay raises will go into effect on Jan. 7, 2023 for 57 members of the department.

The City of Spring Hill’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen also approved the purchase of 18 sets of turnout gear for the fire department at Monday’s meeting as well.