95°F
weather icon Clear

Help in reserve: Department to boost firefighter training program

Updated July 8, 2020 - 3:53 pm

Boulder City Fire Department’s reserve firefighter program used to be one of the best in the nation, and Chief Will Gray is working to return it to that past glory.

“When I arrived and met with our regional firefighting partners I was told about how the past reserve program was one of the best in the country,” he said. “They stated that there were senior firefighters and fire officers around the region, and the U.S., that started here in Boulder City. Our goal is to restore this program to that past status. We hope to develop a place to help young people learn how to be a firefighter while helping with our daily emergency response needs.”

The reserve academy provides training for men and women who want to become firefighters. It also saves the city money and keeps the community safer. According to Gray, there are currently five reserve firefighters with three more in training who work at the fire department. He said he wants to add 25 to 30 more reserve firefighters in the next 18 to 24 months.

Those who participate in a reserve academy must have valid Firefighter I and EMT certifications. Each participant is also required to work at least two shifts a month at the station during training, which Gray said helps save the city money.

“It’s a lot less expensive to have a reserve firefighter fill in than it is to have a regular (one),” Gray said.

Additionally, Gray said having reserve firefighters will allow the department to run a third ambulance more frequently. Currently, it can only run when the reserves are working.

“As that program builds up, we’ll have more reserves available,” he said. “We’ll be able to run that third ambulance when we need it.”

He said having that third ambulance available is “really valuable” because it will allow a faster response time to calls if both other ambulances are out transporting patients to Henderson. If that happens now, Henderson Fire Department is called in to help.

Gray said his plan is to design the program to support the current response force while nurturing individuals to possibly work full time for the city.

“The fire department hires all of our entry level firefighters from the reserve firefighter program. … I have been meeting with all of our current firefighters to help me better understand the department and what makes it as good as it is,” said Gray. “I plan to use this information to ensure that the program is as strong as possible within our budgetary constraints.”

Local firefighter/paramedic Nigel Walton said a big reason Boulder City’s reserve academy is unique is because it gives people firsthand experience at the job and bolsters their resume.

“They come in and help us out and then get that experience and assist us with manpower,” Walton said.

Walton, who completed the training about seven years ago, said the program runs between 10 to 20 weeks. It’s one day a week during that time, with the training going 12 hours a day.

“Our most recent academy lasted 10 weeks,” Gray said. “The reserves came in for a training day each Saturday and our fire leads provided the training required to get them to Firefighter II. Candidates became certified reserve firefighters at the completion of the academy.”

Gray said they are planning to recruit participants at the College of Southern Nevada Fire Science Program and possibly Boulder City High School.

Those who are interested in joining the reserve program should call 702-293-9228 for more information. Gray said he hopes to hold another reserve academy in the fall.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Second set of remains found at lake; foul play not suspected

A second set of human remains have been found at Lake Mead National Recreation Area this month and police are not currently investigating the person’s death as a homicide.

New dog park option proposed

The community is one step closer to having a new permanent dog park after City Council decided to convert an existing softball field into one.

Less than year left to obtain Real ID compliance

Barring another pandemic or other unforeseen event, the Real ID compliance date is just under a year away.

Psychologist sentenced for 3-10 years for killing wife

Dozens of friends and relatives crowded into a Las Vegas courtroom Tuesday as a Henderson psychologist was sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison for killing his wife in 2015.

Pumping station activated

The Southern Nevada Water Authority has put its low-lake-level pumping station into service to secure access to the water in Lake Mead as the level continues to drop but is still urging water conservation to preserve the supply.

Body found in barrel at Lake Mead

The human remains found in a barrel at Lake Mead this past weekend are being investigated as a decades-old homicide.

Operation begins for Lake Powell conservation effort

New operational adjustments to protect Lake Powell in Arizona have already been taken into account for operations at Lake Mead and will not adversely affect it.

Public works director leaving position at city

Boulder City’s Public Works Director Keegan Littrell is leaving his position and taking a job with Henderson as a city engineer.

City council, mayoral forum held

Boulder City mayoral and City Council candidates were able to share their thoughts and ideas on local issues at a recent candidate forum.

High-end RV resort proposed

Another level of hospitality could be coming to Boulder City by way of a proposed recreational vehicle resort.