SHOW LOW — Timber Mesa Fire and Medical District recently concluded a two-week orientation academy and welcomed 11 new firefighters to the District.

Nine of the 11 are an addition to the district because of a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant awarded through FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grants program. The other two are due to vacancies among the ranks.

Prior to the start of the academy each of the 11 new firefighters earned his spot by enduring a rigorous selection process. To start the process, an applicant must have the minimum qualifications required: Firefighter 1 and 2, Basic EMT or Paramedic, and Basic Wildland.

Step two required the applicant to pass an aptitude test through the National Testing Network system, which provides the opportunity for two oral interviews; first with line level firefighters followed by chief officers. Ultimately, the top applicants earned his or her spots in the academy.

The academy was designed to ensure each of the new firefighters has a baseline knowledge of the services the district offers. The TMFMD training division led the academy and put the group through several classroom sessions and live hands-on skills. The topics taught included: chief expectations, overview of the organization, fire prevention, labor-management, hydrants, basic hand line operations, forcible entry, EMS drills, aircraft rescue firefighting operations, ventilation, wildland initial attack and a live fire day.

Darren Cluff, training division chief, had the desire to “Instill in each new recruit the Timber Mesa expectation of professionalism and performing at a high standard.”

Recruit firefighter Maurissa Wilhelm stated, “The academy showed us certain skills and practices Timber Mesa Fire has adopted and gave an overview on the standards set for us to meet and exceed. I learned so many things during the academy, however the biggest thing I learned was, you are never done learning.”

Overall, the academy proved to be very successful. Recruit firefighter Michael Haas indicated, “It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of the very first fire academy and even more so to be a part of TMFMD!”

Each of the 11 new firefighters has been assigned to shift where he or she will work with their crew and company officer for their probationary year. “I can honestly say that I am more excited than ever to start my fire service career with Timber Mesa Fire and Medical District and to be able to serve the local community and surrounding areas,” stated recruit firefighter Raul Schcolnick.

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