Nick Flessner (left) and Justin Wallace (center) listen to firefighter Jeff Rodriguez’ instructions during training.
Firefighting is a demanding job, no question – perhaps even more so as a volunteer-in-training, who has another full-time job.
“It was thorough training, and I learned a lot,” said Brandon Rhodes, one of 10 recruits in Derby’s firefighting training this spring. “I had played sports in school, and I thought I was physically prepared, but it was more intense than I thought it would be.”
Six men successfully completed the January through May program: Rhodes, Nick Flessner, Devin Macera, Skyeler Reynolds, Justin Wallace and Michael Williams.
Rhodes’ interest in becoming a volunteer firefighter developed because of the influence of Derby’s firefighters – family and friends. His father, Brad, was a volunteer firefighter from 1984-2005, when Derby was still an all-volunteer fire department.
“I didn’t want to be full-time, but I like working in the fire area,” Brandon said.
Wallace works full-time as a state trooper with the Kansas Highway Patrol and volunteers as a firefighter.
“Firefighting is something I enjoy,” he said. “The extra training as a firefighter helps me to be a better troooper, and being a trooper helps me with firefighting.”
To become a volunteer requires interviews, a background check, a physical indicating the candidate is healthy enough to attend strenuous fire training, more than 80 hours of basic firemenship and training and a State of Kansas Firefighter I Certificate.
Training is accomplished four to six hours per week on Saturday mornings.
Following training, candidates must also pass a physical agility test, attend bi-monthly training meetings, volunteer a minimum of 12 hours per month of scheduled on duty time and answer alarms when needed, if available.
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