MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Recruit firefighters are working through intense training to learn how to keep residents safe.
Fire officials gave WMBF News a first-hand look at the rigorous training it takes to become a Myrtle Beach firefighter with the department.
Lt. Christian Sliker, spokesperson for Myrtle Beach Fire Department, said they try to make every training scenario as close to real life as possible so recruiters are prepared mentally and physically.
In a search drill on Thursday afternoon, recruits were crawling through a pitch black house, wearing between 60 to 70 pounds of equipment. During the exercise, recruits must follow one side of the wall, while still on the floor to search for doors, openings, and possible victims.
Sliker said the objective of the drill is to teach team building and search efforts. He said as a firefighter, they have to learn how to communicate with one another and trust each other.
The program is now in week two. Sliker said there are 17 recruits of the 27th Recruitment Class that are taking the the 13-week program. They all look to get 15 certifications through the South Carolina Fire Academy at the Myrtle Beach Fire Training Center.
"They're going to be receiving a lot of information over 13 weeks, some classes are two days, others go all the way up to a three-week course. So we wanna make sure they're prepared," Sliker said.
Preparation will happen in the classroom and with hands-on training, for example, with the Search Drill. But other certification training will be Haz-Mat operations, and auto extrication, and with each session the recruits will be tested on their skills.
Sliker says six recruits in the class are from Midway Fire Department, the other eleven represent Myrtle Beach, and after the program they will then work on becoming certified for the city.
"They are on a year probation and the probation entails mentor testing where they get to work with some our certified firefighters, engineers, and lieutenants on bettering themselves as firefighters for the city of Myrtle Beach," explained Sliker.
The department said the recruitment class helps replenish the department and give them more trained workers that serve the community quicker during emergencies. "This is is just a great opportunity to bring in some new firefighters, some new paramedics, some new EMTs to extend our family," Sliker said. "And extend our family at the city of Myrtle Beach as a whole, also protecting our citizens."
Graduation for this class is scheduled for April 10.