Firefighter recruits train to get ready for fire season

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – As we get closer to the start of fire season, some firefighting agencies are training brand new recruits. Rural Metro Firefighter recruits are getting hands-on experience, laying out a good foundation so when stress levels are high the work doesn’t suffer.

Corbin Laird is a full-time electrical engineer and a soon-to-be part-time firefighter.

“It was the Almeda Fire, I was sitting there doing a panel and felt like man I should be able to help,” said Laird.

It wasn’t soon after the Almeda Fire was contained that Laird found a way to help his community. He started talking with current firefighters about how to get involved. He’s been in the Academy since February.

“I’m excited, I’m really nervous,” said Laird, “I don’t know if funs the right word but I’m excited to go out there and help people”.

With fire season just around the corner, Laird and these other recruits are learning how to defend a fire when it threatens a home.

“We try to stay on top of the initial ignition of fire before it ever gets to homes so we work with ODF very closely, to go out stop fires before it ever gets there,” said Austin Prince, Divison Chief of Rural Metro Fire.

Alan Zeltvay is a 3rd-year firefighter. Last year he helped fight the slater fire, but it was the Hugo Fire in 2018 that sticks with him most.

“When it comes to wildfires, we train pretty hard on the urban interface because our objective is to save homes, we want to save as many homes as we can,” said Zeltvay.

With the academy comes several other pieces of training for different terrain and fire situations. So when their boots are on the ground they’re prepared. This group of firefighter trainees is set to graduate in June a probationary year before becoming an official member of the team.

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