TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - A class of recruits with the Toledo Fire Department are preparing to graduate next month, but before they do there's still more work to be done, and more skills to put to the test.
Training to be a firefighter is no easy task. These trainees hit the ground running, starting off with EMT class for 10 weeks followed by 14 weeks of fire training.
"We're hard core right away," John Rodriguez, Lieutenant of Training said. "The state requires 244 hours of fire training and we only have 14 weeks to make sure we can get all the stuff covered."
Running through scenarios, taking on different roles and testing skills is all part of the process.
Trainees are tested on how fast they can put on their gear and get out the door. They may run through this process anywhere from 400 to 500 times during the course of their six months of training.
"I had no fire experience prior to this all, this has been very new for me," Lindsay Kernyo described. "We did a scenario, there was a fire on the second floor of a tower outside and everybody kind of had different roles, some people were in the engine doing the water supply, some people would take the lines inside."
The process to get to this point is also no easy task.
"It's a process, from taking the initial tests, to the background checks, to the oral interview," Marcus Waugh, a trainee with Toledo Fire and Rescue said.
"There were somewhere close to 1,000 candidates that took the initial tests and then after that they were given background checks and they just eventually got down to somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 people that the Chief got to pick the class from," Rodriguez explained.
The department ended up with a class of 29 trainees. They were sworn in on December 1 and will graduate May 18.
"The academy and the instructors have done a great job getting us ready for the line," Waugh said.