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Sep 27, 2007

Newest fire fighters train for dangerous service

Story PictureIt’s a dangerous profession in which long stretches of boredom are punctuated by intense periods of frantic activity. It’s called fire fighting and this morning I met the latest additions to the fraternity.

Jacqueline Godwin, Reporting
You may have seen them on the Yabra Green without taking a second glance, but what you are looking at are the new faces in fire fighting. The last major intake of new recruits was back in the year 2000. the latest intake should result in additional fifteen fire fighters.

Brian Fisher, Training Officer, National Fire Service
“Jackie, we are one month into the training and I believe the hardest part was getting use to the kit and I believe they will. This crew, this is a demanding crew, they are dedicated and I believe that they can make it.”

The fifteenth week training consists of both practical and theory sessions that will run until the end of the year.

The recruitment training comes at a time when the National Fire Service has been operating with limited human resources.

Brian Fisher
“Well, Jackie lately we’ve been operating on our—you could say—skeleton crew. For an operational deployment we need at least ten fire fighters on a truck for the truck to be fully manned. Right now we are operating with six, it’s marginal, three men per truck. So it will be an asset for us definitely, and I believe our performance will definitely be better.”

Today the trainees performed a number of drills where they had to quickly change a length of burst hose, a not uncommon real life occurrence. Overall, the training has been physically demanding and not all who started remained in the programme. Seven participants have dropped out but for those left on the field they are more than determine to succeed.

Grant Perez, Trainee, Fire fighter’s Recruitment Training
“From when I was younger, I started to do volunteer, I get to like it that’s why I come to try out now.”

Jacqueline Godwin
“I understand one of the hardest things is actually going through the training, already there have been several trainees who’ve dropped out of this programme. What has been the hardest thing for you?”

Grant Perez
“The hardest thing is practically what you said just now, the hose training. I’ve been through three trainings already, this is my third training, but I like it so far.”

The trainees all agree that getting use to the extra weight is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome as running with an additional thirty pounds of clothing and equipment is not for the weak or lazy.

Juvencio Serrano, Trainee, Fire fighter’s Recruitment Training
“The physical aspect of it, that da the hardest part of it because the theory noh that hard but the physical part of it. Fi get use to the kit, get use to the equipment, that da the hardest part ah it so far.”

Jacqueline Godwin
“I know that we all look at these fire fighters, but we don’t really understand how demanding it is. Explain to us, now that you have gotten a taste of it, what is it really like?”

Juvencio Serrano
“Well basically, everybody know a little bit about fire, but they noh really know the procedures we go through everyday. The physical part of it, that aspect of it can be very difficult. Yoh have to mek up yoh mind and be certain ah weh yoh want do cause yo can’t mek mistakes. There’s no room for mistakes, lives must be saved.”

Brian Fisher
“Fire fighting is a very physically demanding job and you can’t just take anyone from out of the public and bring them in and expect them to perform a hundred percent. But some of them realise that it’s not something for them, it’s physically demanding, it’s like mind over matter. We demand a lot from you, especially a recruit, cause they need to get their body adjusted to the heat, the temperature from the kit.”

Evan Martinez, Trainee, Fire fighter’s Recruitment Training
“Getting use to the heat in the kit, at first I was getting fatigued fast but now I the get use to it now.”

Trainee Evan Martinez says after much volunteering he is very proud to make it his fulltime career.

Evan Martinez
“Being a fire fighter, you have to think about a lot of different things. You have to think about the critiques and some certain things you have to accept from the public, because what we the go through, they noh really know. Then the difficulty ah fu we job, they noh really understand, and coming into the field, more or less, yow ah get fu understand wa lot about it.”

In service refresher courses are also held every year.

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