DECATUR, Ala. — A new class of recruits has just started their firefighter training with Decatur Fire & Rescue. Alabama Fire College Drill Instructor Lieutenant Brewer Widner said the nine-week process will last through the end of March.
Widner said they typically run their schools at the beginning of the month, "...just because it's better for us as instructors and less people have things going on during the cold winter month," he expressed.
They cover everything from the history of the fire service, communications, PPE, SCBA and more. “Hose drills, ladder drills, search and rescue, and hazmat awareness operations. They'll transform from a civilian to a certified firefighter in nine weeks,” Lt. Widner expressed.
Widner also works for Decatur Fire & Rescue and said the training days can be pretty long. "It's mentally taxing, physically taxing, um, but at the end of it they'll be ready to work for a career fire department," he said.
The schools have seen a decrease in number of applicants applying for the program over the last several years. The starting salary varies from department to department, but could start between the upper $30K range and lower $40K range.
Lt. Widner said once you fully complete the program and other specific requirements, it is almost fully guaranteed that you will have a job in one of the departments.