Firefighters finish extra training to handle emergencies

Bernalillo County Fire Department
Bernalillo County Fire Department

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE)- Two Bernalillo County Firefighters are waiting to take their Firefighter Two Training Test. Once they do, the entire department will be Firefighter Two Certified. Fire officials say that means firefighters will be better equipped to handle emergencies.

Those who support extensive Firefighter Two Training say better training leads to better safety, both for the public and the firefighters.

“It’s just one of those steps that we’ve decided to take to ensure a good, quality firefighter…It’s not just the incumbents but also our recruit firefighters are getting this level of training coming out of the academy,” explained Bernalillo County Fire Chief Chris Celaya.

Celaya says Firefighter Two Certification requires an additional two weeks of training– that’s eighty more hours. But Bernalillo County Commissioners say the long-term payoff is a safer community.

Commissioner Wayne Johnson says Bernalillo Fire is both a rural and city department. Because they’re tasked with responding to emergencies in outlying areas, Johnson says they may have higher response times and need to make up for them with better trained firefighters. He says bringing in additional resources can be tough since emergencies may be farther out.

While the Chief doesn’t have figures for how much more Firefighting Two Training cost taxpayers, commissioners like Johnson say it’s worth it.

“I think the additional firefighter certification, when you have a rural firefighting department like Bernalillo County Fire, the higher level certification is important, the higher training is important. You oftentimes are going to be a little farther away from help when you’re in the east mountains or the far south valley,” Johnson explained.

BCFD representatives say Firefighter II training is the highest certification and say it’s very rare everyone in the department gets it. For more information about the differences between Firefighter I and Firefighter II, click here.
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