Archive for Thursday, October 24, 2002

Potential firefighters begin training

October 24, 2002

Firefighters were at Laws Field Saturday morning, but there wasn't a fire to battle.

With the help of current firefighting staff, 12 firefighter recruits, took a physical fitness and agility test to learn what it takes to become a volunteer for the Eudora Fire Department.

Test stations included climbing a ladder to the top of the press box, pulling a 165-pound dummy across the ground several feet, pulling 200-feet of fire hose and pulling rope with a 35-pound weight tied to the end of it hand-over-hand up the highest point of the bleachers at the stadium.

Assistant Fire Chief Mike Underwood said there were 14 new recruits interested in volunteering for the department, but two were not able to go through the testing Saturday morning. Those two will complete training at a later date.

He said the fitness drills, something many departments don't offer, were the first stage of the recruiting process.

"It gives them a good opportunity to see what we do out here," Underwood said. "It gives them a choice before we invest the time, training and money.

"We feel it's important for the city. We want to make sure their abilities match what our expectations are."

Underwood said all Eudora firefighters become certified as a Firefighter I, which is a Kansas University certification with in-house training.

"The first year they won't be active on the fire ground," he said. "They will be going through recruitment training.

"We are professionals, and we want to make sure they understand the time involved in volunteerism."

The next step for each recruit will be an interview process, which includes interviews with Mike Baxter, Underwood and other firefighters and a final interview with Fire Chief Spencer McCabe.

Although Underwood was pleased with the turn-out of recruits Saturday, he added the department wanted as many volunteers as it can get.

"We're really happy with the progress we've made," he said. "The better equipment and better training we have is better for the community as a whole."

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