Firefighting recruits halfway through training | RecordCourier.com

Firefighting recruits halfway through training

Staff Reports

Two recruit firefighters practicing roof ventilation under direction of East Fork Instructor Alex Callahan, center.

With more than 6,500 calls a year, and staff numbers dropping due to retirements, resignations and injuries, it's a good thing that a new class of East Fork Fire Protection District recruits is nearly halfway through their 12-week academy.

Recruits aren't expected to join the district's firefighting force until the first week of January after undergoing agency orientation.

The district has been short-staffed by nine vacancies for several months, East Fork Chief Tod Carlini said. Most recently two long-time employees with the District have since retired.

"The district will have to continue to consider additional staffing to address the challenges of geography, area growth, population demographics, and volunteer recruitment challenges," Carlini said.

"The district has revamped its volunteer program, focusing effort on training volunteers for logistical and wildland firefighting tasks." Under this revised effort, the district has more than 20 new logistical and support volunteers, with another eight in training.

"While the volunteer commitment is critical to the overall mission, the bottom line is that the district needs additional career staff," Carlini said. "East Fork provides one of the most comprehensive emergency services programs in the state and is considered to be an 'all hazard' response agency."