10 New Firefighter Recruits Join the Salinas Fire Department

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News Date: 
March 21, 2018

10 new firefighter recruits began their training today to become Salinas Fire Fighters on March 10, 2018.  The intensive 16-week academy, located at Fire Station 3 on Abbott Street, will put them to the test.  “They will learn fire control, search and rescue, technical rescue, vehicle extrication, and a host of other lifesaving skills,” says Battalion Chief Doug Dirksen, the fire departments Training Officer.  “It is extremely challenging, both physically and mentally,” he added.  The 10 recruits, three paramedics and seven emergency medical technicians, are expected to graduate in July and will be assigned to one of six fire stations in the city for another 18-months of on the job training. 

Interim Fire Chief Brett Loomis is looking forward to bolstering the ranks of the organization.   “The burden on our current staff continues to grow.  The constant mandatory overtime assignments are causes fatigue, which increases the potential for injury,” Loomis stated.  As the City grapples with increasing costs, controlling the overtime expended by the fire department is critical.  “Getting these new firefighters onto the street will certainly help with that,” Loomis added.

Mayor Joe Gunter said, “Our firefighters work hard serving our community every day.  Adding these new firefighters will help us ensure we are providing the service the community expects and at the same time help us get the overtime issue under control.”

This will be the 6th fire academy in as many years.  Chief Loomis pointed out that there is a recruitment and retention issue not only in Salinas, but throughout the fire service.  “Finding qualified candidates to fill these critical positions is difficult and takes time,” Loomis said.  This academy does not get the firefighter ranks to full staffing.  There will still be two open positions that need to be filled.  “We are in need of paramedics and for various reasons we are not able to recruit them,” he added.  The City and the Fire Department are currently putting together a Lateral Firefighter/Paramedic recruitment to fill the vacancies.

“Regardless of our numbers, the fire department will continue to provide exceptional fire and life safety services to our community,” Loomis said.  “Our mission is to protect lives, property, and the environment and we will continue that mission always.”