Recruits Graduate to Become Firefighters - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

07/30/04

Recruits Graduate to Become Firefighters

When a fire breaks out, firefighters are usually first on the scene. But over the past year, the Savannah Fire Department has faced a major employment shortage. Now some new recruits hope to fill that gap.

The training was grueling, and at times life threatening, and for all the 21 recruits who started have now made it.

"It's been very difficult, very challenging," said Sarah Marsh, now with Station 2. "Every day was a struggle just to make it through that day."

Sarah Marsh, the only female, and her fellow recruits gutted it through 400 hours of some of the most intense physical, mental and technical training they've ever known. For those recruits who were already working as volunteers, meeting the challenge was just as difficult.

"I learned so much more than I thought I'd already knew," graduate Stephen Webb told us.

Now firefighters, the 21 graduates will be filling the fire department's current employment gap, but only for a short time. "You have some attrition that occurs, people retiring, opening new stations and things like that, and you have vacancies that occur and having to fill those require a class this large sometimes," said Battalion Chief Anthony Faust.

With 21 new firefighters, this is one of the largest classes to ever graduate from the Savannah Fire Department's training academy.

For now, these new firefighters are looking forward to working wherever they're needed.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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