Nearly 40 family members and friends today celebrated the training academy graduation of the Danville Fire Department’s five newest professional firefighters. Each firefighter received their individual badge, which was then pinned to their uniform, and took the oath of office.
The new firefighters are Zachary Griffin, Kevin Loveless, Brian Porter, Tanner Reed and Christopher Scott. They will fill positions on battalions at fire stations across the city.
To graduate, each firefighter had to complete the department’s recruit school academy, which began Feb. 1 and concluded with Friday’s ceremony in Council Chambers at the Municipal Building. An academy provides training in areas such as live firefighting, hazardous materials, search and rescue, vehicle extrication, rapid intervention and first aid. Each recruit received 740 hours of training.
“These guys jelled as one (during their training), and I am extremely proud to have watched them do this,” said Battalion Chief Barry Neal, who is in charge of training and safety. “What you have embarked on is not just a job. It is a passion and an opportunity to serve others.”
Fire Chief David Eagle talked about the stringent standards for recruitment and training.
“We are very selective, and we are selective for a reason,” he said. “As chief, I owe it to our community, I owe to those in uniform (firefighters who are serving), and I owe it to your families to make sure that you are ready and that you are the best we could put forward.
“You have demonstrated that you are that high character person, that person with a work ethic, and that person who understands the importance of wearing the uniform that you have on.”
The department has 114 firefighters, 21 dispatchers and 10 administrative staff members.