ST. GEORGE — Despite the sense that volunteerism is down both nationally and locally, the Santa Clara City Council and mayor were introduced to a new recruit class of volunteer fire and rescue personnel for Santa Clara-Ivins Fire and Rescue.
The class of five recruits was introduced by Fire Chief Randy Hancey at the regular City Council meeting Wednesday evening.
Since January the class has put in over 120 hours of training, including wildland and structure fire training, all of which will culminate Saturday when they are tested and hopefully become certified, Hancey said.
“It’s quite involved,” he said, adding that it is the same certification throughout the state through the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy regardless of whether the recruits are volunteer or a full-time firefighters.
Jessica Harward, who has been working as an emergency medical technician for 13 years, said she was encouraged by Hancey to get her firefighter certification. She added that she felt like the training was a lot more difficult for fire than EMT.
“I thought medical was a lot easier,” she said. “With fire you are dealing with so many different aspects.”
Some of those aspects include fire behavior, fire fuels and how they burn, extrication, tools, hydrants, water pressure and hoses.
Following their test Saturday, the recruits will undergo an additional 40 plus hours of hazmat training – “all the chemical stuff that can be dangerous and really quite scary,” Harward said.
Hancey said the majority of the recruits have done all of the training through volunteer hours and will likely continue as volunteer fire and rescue personnel in order to help the community.
“I am really excited to have some new blood in the department,” he said. “It seems like volunteerism, not just in our community, but throughout the nation has gone down so we feel quite fortunate to be able to get volunteers.”
While many will continue as volunteer responders, some of the recruit class hope to eventually turn their training into their careers.
Santa Clara resident and member of the recruit class Christopher Clifford said that he would definitely love to turn his training into a career.
“It’s something I have wanted to do for a long time,” Clifford said, adding that the recruits have definitely put in a lot of hours and he is excited to be nearing the end of the training experience. As he moves toward Saturday’s test, he said he feels prepared by the instructors and ready for the next step.
“I am excited to be serving in my community,” he said.
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