PR Fire Department welcomes new firefighters
Shiny, red fire engines were open for public tours at the Park Rapids Fire Department’s 18th annual open house.
Held Saturday afternoon, the family-friendly event included a freewill donation lunch, plus fire extinguisher and vehicle extrication demonstrations.
Bouncy houses, face painting and a dunk tank were especially popular with squealing, giggling youngsters.
It was rookie firefighter Andrew Carmichael’s first day with full gear on. He officially joined on Wednesday, along with Samuel Ness and Nicholas Skjonsby.
They’ll undergo 144 hours of firefighting certification and hazardous materials training. There is a one-year probationary period as well.
Assistant Fire Chief Ben Cumber said, “There’s always a need for volunteers. We were very fortunate to have a wonderful applicant field this time. This is the most people we’ve ever had apply, so we’re absolutely ecstatic about it. Usually, we get three or four applicants. This time, we got 10.”
With the three newly hired volunteers, Cumber said the Park Rapids Fire Department is now fully staffed.
The fire department recently purchased all-new breathing gear. “That was our big thing, this year. We got a lot of Milwaukee power tools,” he added, noting that firefighting equipment has a lifespan of about a decade. “We have to constantly keep changing that out, and it’s expensive. It’s all work, but it’s worth it.”