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Orland to train new firefighters in-house

Updated: August 28, 2012 11:40PM



Eleven people vying to join the Orland Fire Protection District as firefighters will undergo an intensive eight-week training course starting next month.

The district’s board in late July approved hiring 11 firefighters, more than a year after putting on hold a decision by the former board to hire the same number.

While the new employees will be required to have basic firefighting and life-saving medical skills walking in the door, the district will run them through an in-house academy that, in many respects, resembles boot camp in the military, with a training officer serving as something of a drill instructor, Fire Chief Ken Brucki said.

Once they finish, they should be ready for duty toward the end of November and will serve a one-year probationary period, Brucki said, noting that each will have to “earn a position” as a firefighter.

Six of those hired are from an eligibility list that was created in 2009 and was in place more than a year ago, when the former board initially voted to hire 11 firefighters. The rest are from a hiring list that was in use in 2011.

In May 2011, after two new trustees were sworn in, the board shelved the outgoing board’s decision. The new trustees, elected on a promise to curb what they viewed as runaway spending in the district, said they wanted a better idea of whether more firefighters were needed.

Nine of the jobs will fill vacancies created over the past year, and the hope is the 11 will enable the district to greatly reduce overtime costs, now running about $2 million annually, according to the district. It said that including wages and benefits, the cost will be about $1.1 million annually to add the 11 firefighters.



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