69°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
Council OKs controverial zone change

Funeral homes and mortuaries are now allowed as a conditional use in the city’s C1 neighborhood commercial zone despite a divided vote by City Council and numerous residents voicing their opposition to the idea.

Solar farm fined nearly $220K for air quality violations

A Boulder City solar farm construction site has racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines this year for air quality violations, according to Clark County regulators.

Golf cart agreement saves city thousands

The city will save almost $400,000 on new golf carts for the Boulder City Golf Course thanks to an existing government contract.

Business Beat: Passion rocks man’s soul

Paul Hanks wants you to rock out with him.

Children also impacted by COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic continues its impact on everyone, especially children and adolescents, according to the results of a recent study.

Ex-prosecutor: Troopers’ mistakes marred fatal DUI case

A former Clark County prosecutor says the Nevada Highway Patrol made serious mistakes in its investigation of an impaired truck driver who ran over a pack of bicyclists near Searchlight in December, killing five.

Grant allows hospital to expand services

Residents will be able to have more health services done locally thanks to a grant received by the Boulder City Hospital for new mammography equipment.

Officials work on plan to leave water in lake

States in the lower Colorado River basin are developing a $100 million plan that will leave more water in Lake Mead over the next couple of years.

Projects to boost security proposed

Boulder City staff is proposing that several projects to provide more security at the animal control shelter and police station be included in the capital improvement plan for the next fiscal year.