Troy Fire Chief Matthew Simmons, right rear, looks over equipment at the Troy Fire Department will some of the members of his staff. The department this year is introducing a new firefighter/paramedic apprenticeship program. STEVE BAKER/STAFF

Troy Fire apprentice program gives hands-on look at what job entails

TROY - Troy Fire Department leaders want to spread the word about the opportunities of a firefighter/paramedic career.

They’re going beyond the traditional recruiting materials by creating an apprenticeship program that will give people who are interested a hands-on look at what the job entails.

“We are not critical in finding candidates. We are looking more long term, on how to create additional opportunities for workforce development,” said Chief Matthew Simmons.

“We are looking for individuals in our county who might never hear of our career,” he said.

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Many firefighter/paramedics learn of the career from family members or a friend’s family member, he said.

Department representatives also will meet with local high school sports teams because the career requires a team atmosphere and physical conditioning.

Another goal is to attract young qualified individuals locally who they hope would continue the career in their own backyards.

The apprentice program was designed to give participants exposure to firefighting operations while they pursue their education, Patrick Titterington, city service and safety director, said during the 2019 city budget review.

Two apprentices will begin in June, going through an acclimation period learning about equipment and doing tasks such as checking fire hydrants 20-24 hours a week before starting the fire academy. The apprentices won’t be taking calls but can serve as an extra set of hands to staff.

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Once through the fire academy, apprentices can join on calls. The program will be three years as the participants go through required training and obtain certifications as firefighters/paramedics.

Graduates then can take the civil service test and receive points for apprentice experiences or be ready for work at other departments. “Hopefully, with that boost, they can sit down with other individuals and have the (job) opportunity. We will have had a three-year interview with them,” Simmons said.

He and Assistant Chief Gary Stanley are working with Edison State Community College in Piqua to bring an EMT/paramedic training program to Edison’s planned Troy location.

The program initially would be an EMT basic program followed by EMT advanced and possibly a paramedic program, said Tony Human of Edison. Hopes are the first class can be ready late spring.

The Robinson Fund of Troy recently said it would provide first-year scholarships to two apprentices for the next three years. This would be for the firefighting education. Edison would then work with the students on grants for the medical training, Simmons said.

If the program is successful its first year, two more apprentices will be added the following year and two more the third with participants at various levels of their firefighting and EMT/paramedic training.

For more information, visit the fire department at www.troyohio.gov.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com

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