Recruits with fire departments throughout Herkimer and Oneida counties have received a unique learning experience as part of their training over the past three weeks.
The state Firefighter I Boot Camp, hosted by the Frankfort Volunteer Fire Department, is a 96-hour daytime course that compacts some of the required training to be an interior firefighter that would normally take about three months to complete into a two-week program.
“It’s a lot more abbreviated. So it’s a lot more intense and it makes it a little more challenging,” said Brendan Dunn, a state fire instructor and a retired Utica firefighter.
The first week of the course ran from June 24 to 28. The second week of the course started on July 8 and will wrap-up today.
Dunn said the course is 50 percent instruction and 50 percent hands-on experience. Recruits learn about fire suppression, ground laddering, hose line operation, search and rescue and hazardous materials. Also, as part of the program, recruits performed a community service project at the Firefighters Memorial Park on Litchfield Street.
On Wednesday, Dunn gathered the recruits out by one of the Frankfort fire engines and showed them the different types of nozzles on a fire engine and explained which ones they would need to use in different situations.
“It allows you to position the water where it needs to be,” said Dunn, noting nozzles can vary by department.
While the course was open to anyone interested in becoming a firefighter, it attracted younger recruits who were able to participate in the daylong, summer program.
Ron Smith, with the East Herkimer Fire Department, said he wanted to take the program to become self-contained breathing apparatus certified, which he said is required to become an interior firefighter.
“Usually it takes three months. This way you can do it in two weeks,” said Smith.
Graduation for the 19 recruits, who are all volunteers with their local fire department, is scheduled for 3 p.m. today,
Dunn said this is the first time the course has been offered in Herkimer County. The course may be offered again next June, said Dunn, if the program is successful and enough interest is expressed.