Not all children who want to be a firefighter as a youngster will grow up to become one. Career aspirations change. Life happens. Circumstances require a different course. Or they don’t make the cut.
But for these 10 people, the Salisbury Fire Department (SFD) Firefighter Graduation is the culmination of a lifelong dream.
SFD “Rookie School,” as it is affectionately known, is the beginning of a career of continuous learning for a fire department candidate. It begins with an orientation and indoctrination of departmental and city guidelines and policies. Then, the School evolves into learning job-related duties and tasks, leading to the successful completion of written and practical requirements for the North Carolina Fire and Rescue Commission’s Firefighter certification program.
More than 350 hours of firefighter and hazardous materials certification training is completed. Classes are held on firefighter safety, personal protective equipment, hoses, ventilation, fire streams and hazardous materials are just a few of the subjects the firefighter candidate must master to reach this level.
After rookie school completion, candidates are also required to complete their North Carolina Emergency Medical Training (EMT) certification, which now consists of 120 plus hours, within their first eighteen months of employment.
Most recently, 10 people have completed the SFD’s latest Rookie School.
Recent graduate Noah Stamey immediately wanted to be a full-time
firefighter since he ran calls with the Mt. Pleasant Volunteer Fire Department. Unsure of his future after high school graduation, he was encouraged to volunteer with Mt. Pleasant.
“I just really fell in love with it for the two years I was there,” said Stamey. “At this time in my career, I just want to be the best firefighter I can be. As I progress, I will learn more and hopefully pass on my knowledge to those who come after me.”
Jacob Warner, who also volunteered with Mt. Pleasant for two years, shared a similar sentiment. “I enjoy being on the back of a truck, but I would like to work my way up.”
To begin the training, Rookie School candidates must successfully meet the qualifications derived from the application process, which include written testing, a physical ability test (CPAT) and candidate interviews. Typically five to 10 candidates are taken for each School -- up to two per year. While firefighting experience is helpful, it is not required.
For more information on Rookie School, please contact Battalion Chief David Morris at (704) 638-5360 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.