Six new recruits in line for DFD

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 1, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &045; After completing an intensive physical entrance test, six new recruits are working toward becoming the next additions to the fire department, Capt. Vernon Waters said Friday. The department has been working on recruiting for the last several months.

In addition to their physical test, which consisted of working hands on with ladders, ropes and rescuing dummies, the recruits went to Montgomery to complete their Candidate Physical Ability Test, or C-PAT. This labor-intensive physical test is required before any candidate to become certified as a fire fighter can enter a minimum standards course at Alabama Fire College.

Keith Collier, 19, of Jefferson, was able to get his time at C-PAT school down to seven minutes.

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As part of the training, all recruits suit up with 75 pounds of gear and are asked to pull out 100 feet of 2-inch hose standing up and then an additional 50 feet while on their knees. They then tote lead-weighted saws and maneuver, hand-over-hand, 24-foot ladders. Next they strike a simulated entranceway to gain forcible entry until a buzzer goes off, signaling they have broken through. The next part of the test requires them to find their way out of a darkened maze. Finally, they must rescue a 180-pound dummy. All of these tasks are done in succession and timed.

The other five recruits, Chris Burell, 24, of the Rangeline area; Matt Allred, 19, originally from California but now a Greene County resident; Lafayette Wilson, 21, of Demopolis; Chuck Raby, 19, of Demopolis and Marco Rembert, 23, of Demopolis, also made excellent time on the C-PAT test, Few said.

Their next stop at the Alabama Fire College in Tuscaloosa will submit them to a 10-week training program that will certify them as a level one fire fighter.

When asked why they wanted t become fire fighters, most of the recruits said they had always been interested in the fire service.