August 1st, 2011- The Spotsylvania County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management held its commencement ceremony for Recruit Class 7 on July 15th, 2011 graduating and welcoming seven recruits to the department.
The academy consists of 16 weeks of daily physical training, discipline and skills drills where each recruit proves that they have what it takes to become a probationary firefighter in Spotsylvania County. This recruit class was the first for Spotsylvania that included a full Virginia Department of Fire Programs certified Firefighter I & II curriculum. Those recruits that did not previously have the certifications obtained them in the academy. Along with the two core courses, recruits received all of the classes that they require to meet the minimum training standards as a firefighter or medic for the county, including Rural Water Supply, Vehicle Extrication Awareness & Operations, Hazmat Awareness & Operations, Mayday Awareness & Operations and EVOC II & III.
Recruits also received advanced tactic and survival classes that introduced them to newer ways of air management, fire behavior, large area searches, RIT and self rescue, giving them the leading edge of training and firefighter survival. EMS skills were also tested the last two weeks of the academy for both BLS and ALS providers and new equipment was also introduced and explained. The physical training portion of the academy consisted of three days of cardio and two days of weight training where recruits pushed themselves to their maximum.
Towards the end of the academy, there was a weekly firefighter combat challenge obstacle course, which the recruits went through first in PT clothes, then with gear, and finally with all gear and breathing SCBA. Throughout the 16 weeks, firefighter oriented training was not the only focus, instructors heavily enforced the departmentâ€™s mission statement and core values of Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Dedication and Excellence to remind the recruits that the job is not just about putting out fires and cutting up cars but serving the citizens of Spotsylvania County. The seven recruits as a whole overcame many obstacles throughout the academy including the ability to complete a seven mile run.
Additionally, two students who previously did not have fire certifications graduated with Firefighter I & II. Recruit Class 7 will also help the county with staffing levels enabling them to implement 24 hour career coverage, beginning August 22nd. The department is now in the process of preparing for Recruit Class 8, set to begin at the end of October. Recruit Class 8 will provide additional personnel needed to increase 24 hour career coverage in the first quarter of 2012.
Congratulations to all the recruits on a long and hard journey to success!
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