PELHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — One of the most dangerous jobs in the United States is that of a firefighter, and it’s tough to become one.
The Pelham Fire Department had a taxing year. From a tornado touching down to an historic flood, the department’s usual emergency call volume went up.
On Monday, CBS 42 Morning News Anchor Andrea Lindenberg stopped by the Pelham Fire Department’s training facility to see what it takes to become a firefighter.
“Our guys have to train and keep that physical fitness as much as possible, so we really focus on the physical side of it so when it’s time to go to work they can immediately go to work,” Fire Chief Mike Reid said.
Fires, chemicals, medical, accidents, you name it, they have to be ready for it.
The Pelham Fire Department’s Recruit Schools last up to 10 to 22 weeks, depending on if they do EMT training with it. About 25 to 40% of those recruits will drop out before training is over.
“Having to be in shape is such a small part. If you’re outside that in charge read the smoke and understand what is going on inside that house. What possibly could be burning? How long has it been burning? The amount of knowledge to obtain to be a firefighter or fire medic is more than what people can fathom,” Kenny Wihoit, Pelham Fire Department.
On Tuesday, Andrea suited back up and battled a fire. She learned that search and rescue missions sometimes have heart-breaking results.
“The fire services needs smart people, as well. We need highly intelligent people who want to help to be engaged to come serve because we do everything,” Chief Mike Reid of the Pelham Fire Department said.
Watch the both parts of Andrea’s training in the video players above.