15 set to graduate from Carson City Regional Fire Academy
Eleven grueling weeks of mental and physical exhaustion is what separates the men from the boys in the Carson City Regional Fire Academy.
The academy is used for seven Northern Nevada county departments such as Truckee Meadows, Central Lyon County, Carson City, East Fork and more to train their new fire recruits.
“It’s been a good academy this round, we have had good weather and good recruits,” said trainer Carson City Operator Brian Hunt. “It is interesting because we had a lot of inexperience coming in, a lot of these recruits were sitting in a REMSA van on a corner in Reno a week before, a lot of them had never gotten to do the fire service side.”
This year’s academy started with 20 recruits and will have 15 firefighters graduate on Friday. Carson Fire Department will have six recruits graduating.
The 11 weeks are used to train for all necessary skills the recruits will need once they enter the fire service. In addition to classroom training, the recruits put their lessons to work training with real fire, equipment and vehicles so they’re fully aware of what to expect outside of the academy.
“It’s been really fun and educational,” said Carson City recruit Anil Ratti. “There has been lots of hands on training and there is really no better way to learn this.”
To even be considered for the academy recruits have to go through a process that includes numerous interviews, medical exams, agility testing and hands-on and written tests.
“So there is a lot of time and effort from the time they put in their application,” Hunt said. “Everyone has their blood, sweat and tears in them and we want to see them succeed.”
Once at the academy, they learn the essentials such as basic structure fires, hazmat, wildland fires, rope rescue and auto rescue.
“You learn all the basics of firefighting skills,” Hunt said. “You start with basics such putting on your turnouts and air packs so you take them from step one all the way to now.”
But it’s no easy task.
“It has been good but it’s been hard being away from your family for 11 weeks,” said Carson City recruit Justin Claman. “I have a new daughter so that has been difficult but this is always what I have wanted to do.”
One of the most difficult parts about the academy is the physical toll it takes to compete. The recruits end up doing thousands of pushups and sit-ups by the end of the academy and run hundreds of miles in the 11 weeks.
“They tell you to get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” Ratti said. “There wasn’t anything that was most difficult in itself.”
“It is just the cultivation of stress, fatigue and still having to accomplish things above the expectation,” added Claman.
And unfortunately, sometimes it’s too much and not everyone makes it through to graduation.
“I think everyone gets a fair share and if they were aware of the risks they should know what to expect coming in,” Hunt said. “We have high expectations because people’s lives and the public’s trust are in our hands so we try to instill that in them from day one.”
In the end, graduation is well worth the work.
“It has been amazing for us to learn and put to use the skills,” said Truckee Meadows recruit Tony Schiro. “Physically and mentally it was a challenge but to see the progression of everyone was an eye opener. It was a great experience overall. I am excited, it’s been a long 11 weeks and I am ready to hit the line.”
And for these men, graduation is the beginning of a long career and brotherhood.
“It’s a fire house because it’s a family,” Ratti said. “This isn’t just another job, it’s a family oriented career and it’s a positive with the physical fitness, but it is all about your community and giving back to it.”