Thomasville-- Four rookie firefighters are learning how to handle the Thomasville Fire Department's increasing number of emergency calls.
When rookie firefighter Ryan Burton goes to work from now on, he knows he won't just be carrying hoses, he'll also be carrying tradition. "My Dad's a volunteer firefighter, been around it all my life. It's just something I've always wanted to do, help the community," he says.
Monday was Burton's first day of training. "You train on everything that you possibly can to better yourself and to better the whole department," he says.
Leading the rookies is veteran firefighter, training officer Captain Tim Connell. "My job is to prepare them to get on the trucks," says Connell.
Connell's job is also to prepare the rookies for Thomasville's standards, which are much higher than other cities its size. Thomasville requires that its firefighters are trained a step above the minimum certification. "NPQ1 just gives more advanced techniques. The mod one is just a basic firefighter," says Connell.
Each of the rookies are additions to the fire department, not replacements. That's because as Thomasville grows, so do the number of emergencies. "We're trying to hire on new guys, trying to get more certifications in, more trucks, more rescue equipment. We're just trying to build for the future," says Connell.
That's a future the Captain and his new rookies have confidence in, thanks to the training beforehand. "When the state comes down to check us off, they'll be able to perform," says Connell. "The biggest thing with me is getting that first working fire under my belt," adds Burton. That's a possibility when the newest members of Thomasville's bravest start their first shift next week.
The TFD is also adding mobile data terminals to its trucks this year. That technology helps with dispatching and is rarely seen in cities of Thomasville's size.