NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — It’s a rare problem to have these days, and a good one said the president of Nashville Firefighters Association, Danny Yates.

“There is no shortage of firefighter candidates,” he said.

However, the Nashville Fire Department stands alone with a long list of applicants ready to go through training.

“Right now, there’s a list with about 700 or 750 on it. That’s a pretty substantial list,” said Yates.

NFD responds to roughly 150,000 calls a year. That’s attractive to firefighters working for smaller counties hoping to progress in their careers.

“Sometimes we may cause a shortage in those counties because we hire those veteran firefighters.” Yates continued, “They want to say that they work for Nashville. We have good pay, good benefits, good retirement.”

But, there’s a catch.

It wasn’t until the most recent operating budget approved by Metro that made additional spots. Until now, NFD was only allowed to replace open positions when employees retired or left the department.

NFD can now fill an additional 31 fire positions, 36 EMS positions and 13 Fire Marshall positions.

“I’m thankful that Chief Swann is allowed to hire new firefighters. But, I’m also concerned that we are far behind the growth of Nashville, and Davidson County when it comes to fire protection,” said Yates.

He added the area needs more stations, equipment and employees to make up for all the population growth.

Yates encouraged the city to stay ahead of staffing while pointing to the wildfires in the Western U.S. as an example of understaffing.

“They just weren’t able to handle all of that destruction and that enormous fire load simply because they didn’t have the personnel. And now that they need the personnel, they’re playing catch up, and it’s a little bit late,” he said.

While Nashville’s landscape isn’t prone to the same threat, it’s the concept of being ahead of the problem and capitalizing on candidates that are ready to go to work. Before their desire burns out.