- Business Advocacy
By Glenn Barnett
Every year, or whenever needed, the Alhambra Fire Department trains and hires new recruits to replace retirees or those who have moved on. The department offers a six-week Academy for perspective recruits. The current Academy is the 100th one the department has offered. The participants are Aaron Nunez, Tristan Preciado, and Matt Fergus.
To qualify for the academy, applicants must have already pursued a course that resulted in their being certified as a Firefighter 1. A background as a firefighter cadet or explorer is also a plus to qualify for the six-week Academy.
The Academy program prepares the candidate to be hired on as an Alhambra firefighter. It consists of training from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for those six weeks. Included in the program are lessons about real life situations that firefighters face. Candidates undergo real life exercises and book learning and are tested on their skills.
Among other things, the Academy recruits learn fire suppression skills, lifesaving and rescue, salvage and overhaul operations, how to handle medical emergencies and administer first aid, maintenance of fire apparatus and equipment, maintenance at the fire station and its grounds, inspection of commercial and residential structures, minor fire hydrant maintenance, preparing exhibits and giving demonstrations on community risk reduction, and of course, complete reports, input data, and more.
After completing the Academy program, the three graduates will be offered a position with the Alhambra Fire Department and serve an 18-month probationary period before becoming full-fledged firefighters.
The rigorous training is in sharp contrast to that received by previous generations of firefighters. Take the example of retired fire fighter Larry Stevens, who hired into the department in the mid-‘50s. When asked what his training consisted of, he answered, “We put out fires.” In other words, it was on-the-job training.
Best of luck to the new recruits who will soon take their place among the ranks of Alhambra’s finest.