WASHINGTON – Washington City’s Department of Public Safety tested 24 new recruits last week for volunteer positions with the fire division.
Out of 24 recruits who took the written examination, 21 went on to round two: the Physical Ability Test. Fire Division Chief Jim Guynn said only 8 to 12 of those recruits will then pass the interview phase and continue on to the academy.
Capt. Josh Thayn, who has been a firefighter for 11 years and started in Washington as a volunteer, said the academy is an intensive college-level course where recruits meet three times a week for four months to learn firefighting skills and become certified with the state of Utah.
If the recruits pass the academy, they will then begin field training with the fire division and perform as a volunteer firefighter. Once with the department, firefighters train at least two times a month or more, Thayn said.
Nick Dennis, a volunteer firefighter who has been with the division one year, said the Physical Ability Test the new recruits took on Saturday was not easy.
“It definitely tests your ability,” he said.
The recruits were required to don a fire helmet, fire turn-out coat, self-contained breathing apparatus backpack and bottle and gloves before carrying out the test. The test consisted of seven events that the recruit had to complete within eight minutes: Stair climb with high rise pack, hose hoist, ladder extension, fire department connection hook up, hose drag, hose carry and victim rescue drag. The recruits’ vital signs were taken before the test and twice after the test.
Guynn said although the test is difficult, it is an entry level test.
“It’s a good indicator to determine their ability,” he said. “All fire department organizations have some sort of ability test. This is a demanding job.”
Guynn said although the recruits that pass and are hired onto the department are volunteers, they are trained the same as the full time personnel for their safety and the safety of others during a real fire. He said Washington City is grateful for the volunteers they have.
“The volunteer spirit is alive and well,” he said. “The community wants to help their neighbors. And this is a good time to see if this is the right career move.”
He said the fire division is very careful in their selection process. Those who are hired will begin the academy in January.
“It’s a high stress, demanding job,” he said. “We want to make sure we aren’t putting anyone at risk.”
Washington City’s Public Safety Department is a combination of full time employees and volunteers. All candidates must also pass the requirements set by the Public Safety Department, as well as the fire division’s standards as the fire division is ran under public safety.
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Photo by Jen Watkins, Dixie Press
Davidson demonstrates the fire department connection hook up.