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Chico Fire academy recruits become first group to practice skills under live fire training

Chico Fire academy recruits are improving their skill set to keep people in the community safe.

Posted: Feb 23, 2021 5:46 PM
Updated: Feb 23, 2021 6:14 PM

CHICO, Calif. - For the first time, Chico Fire recruits trained in the department's new live fire training box. 

"We are the first academy that has been able to do this,” said recruit Mike Healy.

Healy said getting real live training will help when it comes to battling fires for real.

"On behalf of a lot of hard work, and dedication by members of this department, and putting in the work and the hours to get this ready for us so that we will actually be ready in just a few days here to experience similar situations serving the city," said Healy.

Healy shared what it is like to be inside of the live fire box.

He explained it as, "Pitch black, which is good. That is a realistic condition," explained Healy. "It is hot, it is difficult to see and maneuver around. So you have to be aware of your surroundings and have excellent communication with your team members and an understanding of what everyone's roles and responsibilities are."

Chico Fire Chief, Steve Standridge, said training like this could save lives.

"[This is] One of the most dangerous incidents we will run and having the ability to practice this skill set is essential to the safety of our firefighters,” said Standridge.

When the training's over, the Chico Fire Department will have six new firefighters.

"[It is a] much needed relief because of COVID-19, retirements, and some long-term leaves that it has critically drawn down our staffing. So, it is a great week to get them wrapped up and working and a part of our crews,” said Standridge.

The eight-week fire academy will end on Friday. Some of the new firefighters will begin their first shift this Sunday.

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The first of two storms moved over northern California late last night and this morning, but our weather has quieted for now. More rain showers will fall Saturday, but heavier rain and snow with stronger wind arrives Sunday.
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