GREAT FALLS — As life slowly returns to normal amid the pandemic, for Great Falls Fire Rescue that includes training academies.
For the first time since the pandemic began, a fire training academy was underway in Great Falls Wednesday for new firefighters. This will bring much-needed relief to the department, which is currently understaffed.
Gear on, ladder and hose at the ready, probationary firefighters practiced rescuing someone from the second floor of a building.
“The last several days, we’ve been preparing these guys for a series of tactics that they have to do for state certification,” said GFFR Captain Nolan Eggen. “It’s nice to kind of get some guys coming in and get the shifts back to the manpower that we need.”
Probationary firefighter Brady Srna likes the training. “It’s a lot different than what I’ve had before. Putting everything together instead of just doing a drill here and a drill there in separate tactics, it’s pretty awesome,” Srna said.
He’s glad to have the opportunity to join the department. “My family moved here a couple years ago. I had some past experience and absolutely loved it and was missing it immensely, so I was ready to get back into it,” said Srna.
He also understands the importance of joining the department at this critical time.
“I kind of take that with a grain of salt. I’m still the new guy. I’ve been in that position before where we’ve been short handed, so it’s nice to help out (and) take off a little bit of load of working all the time,” Srna said.
The firefighters will train for eight weeks and will then go on shift the week of July 11.
A second fire academy for more new recruits is expected to be held in July.
If you’re interested in becoming a firefighter with the department, call 406-791-8967.