District 2 firefighter creates new training program for the younger generation

Feb 27, 2024

For aspiring firefighters, entering the Fire Academy can be an “overwhelming” experience, said District 2 firefighter Carolyn Abrantes. The equipment is complicated, the program is rigorous and the situations are brand new. 

In an effort to alleviate some of that stress, Abrantes recently piloted a new training program for Fire District 2’s recruits and juniors, seeking to familiarize the future firefighters with the basics of their equipment and protocols. 

“I want them to keep that excitement going,” Abrantes said. “I want them to know that there is a place for them.”

The program is only about a month old, but Abrantes said she’s been “stunned” by the level of participation for a completely voluntary weekend class. The district has about 10 recruits and juniors, and about 8 regularly attend the class. Recruits are trainees over 18 and juniors are aged 15 to 17. 

Thus far, the class has learned their way around their critical equipment, including their personal protective clothes and their self-contained breathing apparatus.

“We really want them to know every piece of their SCPA,” Abrantes said. “Knowing the basics of that is very important.”

The recruits and juniors will also receive hydrant training and learn how to work with various ladders, all the way up to the aerial truck ladder at the end of the course. 

“There’s so much in the fire service — it can be such an overwhelming career to get into,” Abrantes said. “And when you’re in a rural department, you have every job.”

Even if the students don’t memorize every piece of the training, Abrantes believes gaining familiarity with all of the tools will help them get even more out of their eventual Fire Academy program: “If they already have an idea of what the instructors are looking for, they can really absorb the rest of the information that they are trying to teach them.”

Everyone in the class seems to be very excited, Abrantes said, and the response from the department itself has been just as heartening. She runs the program with her husband, another District 2 firefighter, but has also had other people in the department volunteer to help teach or come to watch the training sessions. 

“I’m just really excited that so many of the firefighters in our station — they’re all very excited about it,” she said. “The support that we have within our station is out of this world, awesome.”