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Archive for Sunday, October 20, 2002

Future firefighters learn ropes in downtown alleys

October 20, 2002

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They spent the day in the back alleys of Lawrence, learning the art of breaking and entering.

At the hands of their trainers, 13 recruits were being schooled on their way to becoming the newest crop of Lawrence firefighters.

"They've been doing an excellent job," said Cpt. Shaun Coffey, a training officer with Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical. "They're hard workers and very excited and eager to learn."

On this day, the newcomers learned about forcible entry and became familiar with different types of building construction, Coffey said.

The class of 12 men and one woman is past the midway point of an 11-week recruit academy. When they graduate, they'll start by filling in for full-time firefighters who are ill or on vacation, Coffey said. As other employees leave, the freshly trained personnel will move into their spots.

Battalion Chief Bill Stark, right, instructs 13
firefighters-in-training about the correct ways to enter the
doorway of a burning building.

Battalion Chief Bill Stark, right, instructs 13 firefighters-in-training about the correct ways to enter the doorway of a burning building.

The academy covered firefighting the first six weeks and will turn to emergency medical training the last five weeks.

Recruits will learn everything from using hand tools to handling hoses to employing search and rescue skills. Most of the training will take place at the department's training facility, 1941 Haskell Ave., though Lawrence residents may see the recruits jogging through their neighborhoods, keeping up the physical conditioning portion of their training.

It's been about a year since the last firefighter academy.

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