BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Kern County Fire Department’s latest firefighter recruit academy is winding down and trainees spent Thursday practicing for all kinds of situations they could find themselves in while serving Kern County community.
So, what does a trainee have to go through? Thursday 23ABC got an inside look of live fire week.
Dressed and carrying all gear, Kern County Fire gave an inside look at what it’s like to be a new firefighter at their olive drive training facility.
“We’re going to go through this door, we’re going to go away from the other instructors from there, we’re going to sit down, we’re going to watch the incipient phase of fire, insipient phase of fire means your small trash can fire,” said Kern County Fire Department.
The experience was of a demonstration of a live fire.
“We’re going to stay super low going in it's going to be super-hot going in,” said Kern County Fire Department.
As everyone walked in smoke filled the room.
“And then you’re going to see the smoke start to evaporate,” said Kern County Fire Department.
Visibility slowly disappeared until flames erupted right over everyone’s head. These are the types of situations fire crews go through every day.
“You experienced the atmosphere that we experience when we go into a burning building,” said Greg Sanchez with Kern County Fire
Sanchez said the department’s recruit academy is teaching 25 future firefighters to fight live fires by using what they’ve learned over the last fourteen weeks.
“Since week one we’ve been learning all the things leading up to this so pulling hose line off the engine, pulling ladders, learning about fire behavior, water application, and here we are tying it all together,” said Donavan West a recruit.
West said it's hard work, but he is grateful for the opportunity.
“I’ve always wanted to do something helping people and the fire academy, or the fire department allows me to still work as a team and help people at the same time,” said West.
Experiencing firsthand the scorching temperatures that came along with this line of work.
“It’s great to see from the public’s eye or the eye of the public to see what we go through on a daily basis it’s very difficult to understand from the outside until you really experience, I think,” said Sanchez.
The department said training within the academy is important.
“Just give it a shot, it’s a great career you meet a lot of people, a lot of these people I will know for the rest of my life from the academy I’ve made a lot of connections and it’s a lot of fun,” said West.
This group of Kern County Fire recruits will graduate on January 21st. Anyone interested in joining the department can visit their website.