New recruits join Prairie Fire
Six part-time firefighters will be joining the Prairie Township Fire Department within the next 30 days.
Due to part-time firefighters finding full-time positions elsewhere, becoming injured, and training in medic school, more help has become needed to help relieve some of the weight from the other firefighters.
There are presently 29 full-time firefighters and 33 part-time firefighters in the department. The part-timers work in 12 hour shifts.
Fire Chief Steve Feustel said some of them will work 24 hours if they can. Two part-timers are scheduled everyday, so there is one at each station. This can create four positions each day.
“We also use them to fill in our ranks for the first two full-time firefighter positions when they are on leave. This helps reduce overtime costs and related expenses and has worked very well with our department,” Feustel said.
Feustel said in order for them to maintain the equipment response they need, they need to have nine firefighters on duty a day and the new additions will make it easier to fulfill that requirement.
“It’s going to make it a safer environment for the firefighters as they work on the street,” Feustel said about having more firefighters on the team.
The new trainees recently met together for the first time for orientation. They will begin their “green book” of training objectives to become familiar with the Prairie Township’s equipment and SOPs. They are signed off on each piece of equipment by the company officer or a mentor.
Once their books are completed, they will meet with two different officers that will confirm they are adequately familiar with the equipment and procedures. Once they are signed off on, they will be ready to be assigned shifts.
“This whole procedure will be limited in time by 30 days. However, they can complete their training in a shorter time period,” Feustel said.