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New firefighters battle the heat while learning the ropes

July 7, 2018

HUNTINGTON - It’s been a hot and humid week in the Tri-State area, but that hasn’t stalled the training for the Huntington Fire Department’s newest recruits.

On Friday, the six new firefighters were put through their paces at the Tri-State Fire Academy and instructed by several training officers on the proper way to load and unload a fire hose onto a fire truck as well as inspect and clean it.

Huntington fire captain and training officer Scott Ramey said this is an important task for every firefighter to learn and will also be one of the main responsibilities of the probationary firefighters when they are assigned to a station in a few weeks.

Since beginning training two weeks ago, Ramey said he has put the new recruits through a number of exercises including search and rescue, ladder drills and bunker drills, which are completed all while carrying roughly 70 pounds of gear.

“Given their progress, they are right where they need to be at this point in time,” Ramey said.

Probationary firefighter Anthony Sapp, 31, said the past two weeks have been humbling and eye-opening as he learns what it takes to become a Huntington firefighter.

“You see what these guys do, but as a general public you don’t really know what’s going on at the fire scene, so when you come in here as a general public person and try to prepare yourself ... it’s humbled me,” Sapp said.

Sapp said the toughest exercise thus far has been search and rescue.

“I feel like it should be the toughest because it’s one of the most important aspects of what we do,” he said.

Ramey said the probationary firefighters have to complete four more weeks of training at the Tri-State Fire Academy before traveling to the state fire academy in Weston, West Virginia, to complete their testing.

Once complete, Ramey said the firefighters will return to Huntington for a graduation ceremony at the academy on Aug. 10 when they will be assigned a shift and station.

Huntington Fire Department launches recruitment campaign

HUNTINGTON - The Huntington Fire Department is accepting applications from men and women seeking careers in the professional fire service.

The application period will be open through Aug. 10. Applicants will undergo written tests, orientations, timed runs and physical ability tests. Everyone who passes the testing process will be included on the Huntington Fire Civil Service Commission hiring list. This list will be utilized for up to three years or until it is exhausted.

The fire department offers a starting base salary of $35,975 with paid vacation, sick leave, health benefits, participation in the Municipal Police Officers and Firefighters Retirement System, the West Virginia Fire Civil Service system and the Joint Apprenticeship Training Program.

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age. Applications are available in the City Clerk’s Office, located in Room 16 at City Hall, 800 5th Ave., Huntington, WV 25701, or online at http://bit.ly/fireapply.

Huntington fire captain and training officer Scott Ramey said the fire department’s staffing level currently sits at 93 sworn firefighters; however, they are budgeted for 95.

If all goes well, Ramey said ideally they will be able to have a new class of recruits by the beginning of next year.

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