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Firefighters go through two-week training to become fire officers

More than a dozen Rogue Valley firefighters from multiple different fire agencies from across Jackson and Josephine counties are going through even more training to better serve the community. All are hoping to learn and better understand what it takes to be a fire officer. A fire officer is the person in charge at things like structure fires or car accidents.

Posted: Apr 24, 2019 5:51 PM
Updated: Apr 24, 2019 6:25 PM

WHITE CITY, Ore. -- More than a dozen Rogue Valley firefighters from multiple different fire agencies from across Jackson and Josephine counties are going through even more training to better serve the community. All are hoping to learn and better understand what it takes to be a fire officer. A fire officer is the person in charge at things like structure fires or car accidents.

“We're teaching these students how to be that person in charge, how to make decisions about whether or not it's safe to go into that building, how to best help preserve properties, how to best help save lives. We're asking them to make some pretty critical decisions about saving lives,” said Medford Fire-Rescue’s Battalion Chief Kip Gray. "We're talking about people's safety. Not only the lives of firefighters but the lives of people who could be trapped inside a building. People that could have been a victim of a car accident or any other scenario. We want the person in charge of that scene to have good training and to have practice making those decisions."

Tom Kerley has been a firefighter for nearly 10 years. He’s currently an engineer with Fire District 3. Now he said he's ready to take the steps necessary to become a Captain.

"A lot of responsibility comes with that. That's where I'm trying to get. I'm trying to be that person for our community." Kerley said.

The live fire behavior training is only a portion of the training. Students said other parts involve learning the administrative side.

"We come from a place that's very service oriented. When you start adding paperwork, and reporting and budget management to that we have to educate ourselves and not everybody has that background," added Kerley.

He’s just one of the 16 people hoping to earn a promotion at his station.

“Our current staff is trying to make sure we have quality officer sitting on the engine tomorrow and next year. I think everybody will share in that goal that we want quality decision makers on engines to provide the best service we can to our community."
Wednesday was only day three of the training. It lasts for two weeks.

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