HINESVILLE, Ga. (WSAV) – The Hinesville Fire Department (HFD) welcomed six new firefighters into its ranks with a graduation ceremony Monday night. Joined by friends and family members, each firefighter received their official service badge and recited the firefighter’s oath.
“Becoming a Hinesville firefighter is not for the faint of heart; it takes endless devotion, constant compassion, unending sacrifice and an amazing strength of character,” Hinesville Fire Chief Robert Kitchings said. “Each of our new firefighters embody these attributes. They have truly earned their seat; and, on behalf of our brothers and sisters at the Hinesville Fire Department, we warmly welcome our new firefighters.”
The graduation ceremony marked the culmination of the HFD’s new, in-house training program. The inaugural program, which began in March, sought to train new firefighter recruits locally, utilizing the department’s own highly-trained staff and widespread resources, versus sending them out-of-town to the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth.
“Our newest firefighters are truly homegrown heroes,” Hinesville City Manager Kenneth Howard said. “By bringing our program in-house and training our new firefighter recruits locally, we set them up for tremendous success. Training in Hinesville led our new recruits to develop strong relationships with the community, with each other and with our custom equipment – each of these bonds is crucial in helping our firefighters save lives during emergencies.”
Hinesville officials say the training program arose from the need to train firefighter recruits quickly and proficiently in order to continue meeting the community’s demand for fire services.
“Hinesville is growing,” Cpt. Alex Mason, HFD Training Officer, said. “The addition of these new firefighters will help us continue to provide high-quality services to the community we love.”
Each new firefighter completed over 300 hours of classroom instruction and hands-on demonstrations, The graduates are now certified Firefighter I with knowledge of hazmat awareness, response and operations and basic level training in emergency medical response.