Fairbanks firefighters spend day training with live fire

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) Members of the Fairbanks and North Pole Fire Departments spent the day at the Fairbanks Regional Fire Training Center working with recruits and refreshing their skills. Over the last eight weeks three recruits have been training with the Fairbanks Fire Department to become full time firefighters.

Fairbanks and North Pole firefighters conduct live fire training exercises in Fairbanks. (John Dougherty/KTVF)

"So what we are doing is preparing the new recruits to work at the fire department," said FFD Captain Zach Rittel.

He said that most recruits they get have had previous experience, but the training helps them know the station.

"Rather than just like throw somebody into an emergency on the line, we prepare them to know our area, know some of our buildings and our operations," Rittel said.

Recruit Collin Field recently graduated from a four-year fire course at UAF. He said that the training is a good refresher.

"When you are able to apply your skills under a little bit of pressure with not a significant amount of heat, because it's a training fire, but some heat it ties everything together,” Field said.

Fairbanks Fire Department Battalion Chief Scott Raygor said that the training lets them watch the recruits in action.

"In the end it demonstrates their skills that they have learned over the last eight weeks, how to pull hose, how to flow water technically, how to do their search correctly. And then it gives them their entry rating to be able to fires once they get on shift,” Raygor said.

Another reason for the training is to keep the current firefighters at the top of their game.

"In our business time is money, when you have four minutes roughly for a room to become fully involved, we can't make mistakes. We can't pull hose wrong, we can't search wrong, we have to stay within those goals to do it quickly, efficiently and safely so that we can make it safe," said Raygor.

He said that training helps ensure they can best serve the community.

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