Fire chiefs do a good job training rookie recruits
The Buffalo Fire Department is currently training a new rookie class. This is the third class in the past 15 months. In the past four years, one-third of the fire department has retired and been replaced with rookies. More veteran firefighters are expected to retire before the final year of the contract next year.
Rookie firefighters are put through a rigorous 12 weeks of training. But all the in-house training cannot prepare you for what you will experience at that 2 a.m. house fire. When you can’t see six inches in front of you and the heat is so intense you are ready to jump out a second-story window. Or, maybe you are the pump operator at this fire, alone at the pumps and suddenly your lieutenant and the crew are in the attic of a fully involved structure and they are screaming for water. All the training in the world cannot fully prepare one for such scenarios.
Recently in South Buffalo, I witnessed two pumpers at different locations hooked up to hydrants running fire pump operations. I later witnessed a truck company fire-planning a structure fire at an abandoned building.
Rescue One has also been spotted at the waterfront running water rescue operations and car extraction scenarios with new firefighters.
At all these various training exercises, no matter how small in nature, as well as some of the larger exercises in which Rescue is involved, lieutenants, captains and chiefs should be commended. This kind of preparation not only makes the City of Buffalo and its residents a safer place to work and travel in, but is preparing the new firefighters to serve in a dangerous environment.
And still go home to their families at the end of their shifts. To all of Buffalo’s bravest, stay safe.
Retired Buffalo fire lieutenant