HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – The Hattiesburg Fire Department began its 2021 Recruit Class Monday.
Eleven recruits will go through twelve weeks of state Fire Department curriculum and Hattiesburg Fire Department curriculum that will require them to get through academic, physical and mental adjustments. To get to this portion individuals have already gone through a 4 month process. Recruits are required to learn to carry their seventy pound gear while getting acclimated to wearing their gear throughout the seasons.
The next academy application process is already underway and will be closed by March 6th. The city says it is their aim to have recruitment classes twice a year and these new recruits will aid in staffing its 9th fire station on U.S. Highway 49 North at Irby Road set to open in the spring. The addition of that station will help to service the northern area of south Mississippi with faster response times.
Currently the City of Hattiesburg has a Class 3 fire rating and is looking to get to Class 2 with the this increase in man power. The Mayor says the advantage of having a local academy is that recruits will learn in their environment rather than learn somewhere else and have to relearn the neighbors they will have to serve.
“There are only a hand full of cities and departments who are able to do their own training academy, Hattiesburg is lucky to have the resources provided by the people who came before us.” – Mayor Toby Barker.