Coronavirus concerns cause training changes for firefighter recruits

Coronavirus concerns cause training changes for firefighter recruits

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - First responders are having to get creative when it comes to training. A new class of potential Savannah firefighters just started this week and it’s already off to an unusual start.

Normally, the men and women hoping to become a part of this department begin their 16 weeks of training with hands-on training, like properly putting on their gear.

But in an era of social distancing and COVID-19 concerns, that isn't happening just yet.

So, here's how their getting around that. A training academy staff member conducted a physical training session with recruits using the Zoom cell phone app. It's just one example of how the department is having to think outside the box to make sure they have a new crop of firefighters to fill the ranks.

The training battalion chief was asked if there are any concerns over switching up the training program, and if that could affect this latest class of recruits.

"Initially there were some concerns, but the way our cadre is that I have…I have a really good staff of training officers that will make sure that these guys and girls are pushed through the process. Now, the way it is, we've also extended graduation. So where it may have traditionally been 16 weeks, if they are not meeting the standards put forth by the Department and by the State of Georgia, then we will extend that if necessary to make sure that their training isn't lacking due to all the changes that we as a community are facing right now,” Battalion Chief Wayne Ifill said.

So right now, in addition to remote workouts, the recruits are doing the text-based training.

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