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Here’s what it takes to be a Fort Smith Firefighter


WE’VE ALL SEEN THE SHOWS WHERE
FIREFIGHTERS RUN INTO BURNING
BUILDINGS RESCUING WOMEN AND
CHILDREN. BUT IN REAL LIFE,
FIRST, THEY HAVE TO GO THROUGH A
LOT OF INTENSE TRAINING.  
 
 
 
(nats…firefighter climbing
stairs says “stay on the
rafters”) WHAT MAY LOOK LIKE AN
EASY OBSTACLE COURSE IS ANYTHING BUT…BECAUE THESE PROBATIONARY
FIREFIGHTERS ARE DOING IT BLIND. “because most fires we go into
you are unable to even see a
hand in front of your face.”
(NATS…firefighter says “I
want you to show me how you
would check your air”…floor falls out from beneath
firefighter.) THE COURSE TEACHES
NEW FIREFIGHTERS
THE BASICS OF SELF RESCUE. “this is intended to show the
firefighters that regardless of
what situation they’re in they
can survive.”
THE ROOKIES HAVE TO CRAWL AND
FEEL THEIR WAY THROUGH DIFFERENT SCENARIOS, ALL WITH THEIR GEAR
ON AND ON A SINGLE TANK OF AIR. THE ROPES SIMULATE ELECTRICAL
CABLES
THAT A FIREFIGHTER MIGHT HAVE TO
CRAWL THROUGH AND THE PIPE WOULD LEAVE SOME PEOPLE FEELING
CLAUSTROPHOBIC. OUT OF 150 APPLICANTS ONLY 20
MADE THE LIST. “you can’t go into this program
half hearted you have to want to
be a firefighter, in order to be
successful you have to be
mentally and physically
tough if you lack either one you won’t make it.”
“it’s always been in the back of my mind but I pursued a baseball
career for a while and then
ready to settle down so I’m just
ready to get involved and
get my roots planted.”
28 YEAR OLD MATT HELMS IS ONE OF THE
8 FINALISTS. HE SAYS TODAY’S TRAINING WAS
ACTUALLY AWESOME. “yes it was, yes it was, it was
tough but I like a challenge it
was fun to get in there and get
to experience new things and experience different scenarios.”
HELMS AND HIS FELLOW ROOKIES ARE
HOPING THEY MAKE THE FINAL CUT,
WHICH WON’T BE UNTIL ABOUT 5
MONTHS FROM NOW. THE NEW RECRUITS WILL FILL
OPENINGS LEFT BY FIREFIGHTERS
WHO HAVE ALREADY RETIRED AND
THOSE WHO WILL SOON RETIRE. “we’re just ready here to serve
the community we want to do the
best for them and give back to
them in any way we can.”
 
 
  THE DEPARTMENT WILL HIRE 10 MORE
FIREFIGHTERS IN JANUARY…AND IN
CASE YOU’RE WONDERING A ROOKIE
FIREFIGHTER HERE STARTS OUT
MAKING ABOUT 34-THOUSAND DOLLARS
A YEAR. LIVE IN FORT SMITH BRETT RAINS 40/29 NEWS

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