Kirtland Fire Dept. trains, graduates new firefighters

  • Published
  • By By Jim Fisher
  • Kirtland PA

Kirtland Fire Dept. trains, graduates new firefighters

By Jim Fisher
Kirtland Public Affairs

The Kirtland Air Force Base Fire Department swore-in six new firefighters in a ceremony here Dec. 14. The group of cadets completed training at Kirtland, in a Fire and Emergency Services Training Academy program developed by the KAFBFD.

The new Firefighters became the first to graduate locally in 14 years, according to KAFBFD Department Deputy Chief Jaime Jimenez.

“It was a task because the last time [training] had been done here was 14 years ago,” Jimenez said. “We literally had to reinvent the wheel.”

While the majority of firefighters on military installations received training at the DoD Fire School at Goodfellow AFB, Texas, the approximately $40,000 per student caused the KAFBFD to innovate, according to Jimenez.

Developed over an 18-month period, the training was extensive. The eight-week courses included 17 unique DoD and Air Force mandated-by-law courses; 11 fire and emergency services computer based courses; 12 hours of hazardous materials training; 32 hours of hazardous materials operations training; and the 160-hour Firefighter I and 80-hour Firefighter II courses. Each cadet earned four separate International Fire Service Accreditation Congress Certifications.

Jimenez said that the cadets came with some training in wildland firefighting and in some cases, more advanced firefighter training. But the level of training requirements and certifications for DoD installation firefighters is high.

“The amount of skills and requirements and certifications they have to have is extensive,” Jimenez said, citing a comparison with local municipal firefighter requirements. “Firefighters from Albuquerque Fire Rescue cannot just walk on to this job because they are lacking the certifications necessary.”

To ensure a steady pipeline of new firefighters who meet these requirements, KAFBFD has planned further local training, to include paramedics, Jimenez said. Ultimately, he said the department was pleased with the first milestone in the training program.

“This is a great accomplishment by the men and women of Kirtland Air Force Base Fire Department. I am proud of them and happy to be a member of this department,” Jimenez said.

Graduates were sworn-in, presented with a firefighters shield, badge and certificate of graduation. Graduates included Christopher Davis, Joshua Dunn, Thomas Fitzpatrick, Kari Kline, Caleb Linville and Katelynn Montoya.