23 new Kern County firefighters graduate from academy

Grant helps fund new positions within department

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - 23 new fire fighters are on their way to stations across our community.  The recruits all graduated from the Kern County Fire Academy.

It takes fire fighters weeks to pass a grueling test of mental and physical obstacles – but preparing to help keep Kern County safe is a job many of them spend years to achieve.

Jeremy McGill is one of the newest members of the Kern County Fire Department.

“It just means honor, integrity and now I’m joining a family that I’ve always wanted to be a part of,” said McGill.

McGill spent nine years working to earn his county badge, something he shares with his wife Mary, a city fire fighter.

“We bounce everything off each other. I learn from her, she learns from me and we separate work, city and county, we’re all brothers and sisters,” he said.

The recruits spent 20 weeks going over various exercises that prepare each of them to battle any circumstance.

“They spend time in the classroom learning the basic policies of the Kern County Fire Department. They learn the tactics needed to battle a structure fire also, the different tactics they need for other scenarios that most people don’t know the fire department does like swift water training or wild land fires,” said Corey Wilford, public information officer for the Kern County Fire Department.

A new grant is allowing the department to fill 27 positions and with some personnel retiring, even more jobs are expected to open down the road.

“I’ve had my sights on this for a long time. As a lot of these men did,” said new firefighter, Chris Bryski.

As the recruits start a new beginning, they’re not only opening doors but also plan to share their experiences with future fire fighters.

“It’s an enormous honor to be a member of this department and it certainly takes a certain individual to do this job.  I think I would tell new recruits hard work and perseverance and an excellent positive attitude will get them there,” he said.

The 23 fire fighters will spend an extra week of EMT training before actually hitting the streets at their new training stations. 

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