Firefighting recruits with Kent-based Puget Sound Fire and other local agencies are past the halfway point of their 21-week course.
The nearly 60 recruits of Recruit Academy 17 recently finished week 13, where they completed their International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) Firefighter 1 written examination, and spent a half of day fine-tuning their skills by working on ladder raises, forced entries, search and rescue, ventilation techniques, equipment hoisting and hose handling, according to a Puget Sound Fire Facebook post.
For the equipment hoisting, the recruit firefighters had to prepare an axe, a roof ladder and a pick pole for hoisting.
Recruit firefighter Michael de la Torre recently shared with Puget Sound Fire why he wanted to become a firefighter.
“After high school, I was introduced to the fire service and instantly knew that was my calling,” de la Torre said. “I have always enjoyed working with my hands and knew that the values my parents taught me aligned with the fire service. I also knew that I wanted to make an impact on the community and be a lifelong public servant.”
De la Torre explained what service means to him.
“The meaning of service to me is selflessly dedicating myself for the better of others and making a positive impact on the community,” he said. “It’s about putting the needs of the community above my own and ensuring to go above and beyond the public’s expectations, while maintaining a positive attitude and always having a smile on my face.”
Currently there are 58 recruits still in the recruit academy, according to a Nov. 29 email from Pat Pawlak, spokesperson for Puget Sound Fire. There are recruits from Puget Sound Fire, Renton Regional Fire Authority, Valley Regional Fire Authority, King County Fire District 2, Mountain View Fire & Rescue, South King Fire & Rescue, King County Fire District 20 (Skyway), Eastside Fire & Rescue, Vashon Island Fire & Rescue and Port of Seattle.
Thirteen recruits are from Puget Sound Fire.
During the next session, the recruits will continue to train on hose handling and ladder techniques in preparation for their IFSAC Firefighter 2 practical examination. They will also complete their fourth fitness test by completing the work capacity course, take their final recruit academy written examination and their IFSAC Firefighter 2 written and practical examinations.
After they have completed this portion of the recruit academy, they will begin their emergency medical technician (EMT) training on Dec. 4. The recruits graduate on Jan. 18, 2024.
The recruit firefighters spent week 12 participating in auto extrication activities. Training included using the spreaders and cutters E-tools and techniques for safely removing windshields, doors and roofs when extricating a trapped patient. The recruit firefighters also spent time honing their skills with establishing water supplies and working with extension ladders.
The recruits participate in most of the courses at the South King County Fire Training Consortium, 20811 84th Ave. S., in Kent. About a dozen departments are part of the consortium.