BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The Kern County Fire Department kicked off their VEIS training academy this week, focusing on rescue efforts during emergency situations.
"Basically we're going into a structure and searching for victims and if we found a victim just kind of our operations of how we're going to be extricating them," said KCFD recruit Samuel Waters.
Waters is in his ninth week of training with the department.
"I've wanted to be a firefighter since I was a little kid," Waters said.
VEIS stands for ventilation, entry, isolation, and search. These steps are all vital parts of firefighters' response during a house fire.
Captain Eddie Martinez ran most of the training simulations Tuesday morning, including entering a locked home, entering from a second story, crawling through a home and searching for trapped victims, extricating victims and getting them emergency treatment.
"Our number one priority is life," Martinez said. "So these recruits are going to get an opportunity to get those techniques and methods down so that they can quickly, effectively, and efficiently find those victims."
These recruits will train every day from about 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Olive Drive Training Academy. The Academy has a six-story tower where they can run these simulations. Martinez said for the first time, the cadre built and furnished rooms within the building for the recruits to train in.
"We have a great cadre that we're getting a lot of instruction from and they're bringing all of the knowledge that they have, and when we're doing these simulations it actually feels like you're in a house conducting those searches," Waters said.
The department is currently accepting applications for their next academy. Applications are open through December 10 and can be found on the Kern County Fire Department's website.