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Week in Review : MAJOR EVENTS, IMAGES AND PEOPLE IN ORANGE COUNTY NEWS : CITIES : Brea Fire Department Bans Hiring of Smokers

<i> Times staff writer</i> s<i> Gary Jarlson and Barry S. Surman compiled the Week in Review stories. </i>

Where there’s smoke, there’s not going to be any firemen, at least in Brea.

The city’s firefighters agreed to a two-year contract that prohibits the hiring of smokers, the first such action of its kind in Orange County.

The provision is considerably tougher than the one recently taken under review by the Laguna Beach City Council, which would giving hiring preference to nonsmokers.

Brea Fire Chief Jerry L. McDowell explained: “We saying, ‘We’re not hiring them. Period.’ So it’s a little more stringent than what Laguna is considering.”

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Although the new policy will not affect the five or six smokers currently on the 44-member fire department, for new employees, nonsmoking--whether on duty or off--will be a way of life if they want to remain on the job, the chief said.

Also, McDowell said, a firefighter who is hired as a nonsmoker but takes it up later will give the city grounds for dismissal. The chief, who recently quit smoking himself, said he created the new hiring policy to avoid future personnel health problems and to improve the working conditions.


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