Firefighters complete elite training course
Eleven firefighters, including five from Bay County, recently completed the Georgia-based FLAMES (Firefighters Laboring and Mastering Essential Skills) class in Panama City. Cody Hill of Panama City Beach Fire Rescue, back left, was among the elite group who completed the 48-hour intensive training out of 30 participants from five states.
This course is designed to test an individual firefighter's personal limitations when working in high stress situations with limited recuperation periods. It is also designed to test the individuals’ ability to function as part of a team. Teambuilding is a focal point of the course.
The class was the first of its kind to be held outside of Georgia. As part of the boot-camp style program, firefighters endured hours of running and calisthenics day and night, and practiced search and rescue, forcible entry, firefighting skills, ventilation, stretching hose line and many other duties of the job under extreme conditions. Firefighters had minimal opportunity for sleep and at times were subjected to extreme conditions.
Less than 30 percent who take the class graduate. Graduates of the class come back and teach future sessions. Just over 300 firefighters have successfully completed the course nationwide. Others who graduated include: David Jernigan, J.P. Oliver and Mary McFaul of Panama City Fire; Gabe Moschella of the Bay County Fire Rescue; Ricardo Garcia of Valdosta, Ga.; Mike Hagan of LaGrange, Ga.; and Bassel Ibrahim, Matt Magee, Michael Covell and David Torres of Orlando Fire.
Pictured above are firefighters from Panama City Beach Fire Rescue and Panama City Fire who have completed the course and returned as instructors. From left are: PCB firefighters Travis Gregg, Justin Busch, Craig Robarts, JJ Roberts, Jacob Gorman, Derick Wicker (Panama City), Brent Gust and Kevin Lolley (Panama City). PCB graduates not pictured are Shawn Ramsey and Cody Hill.
Public Information Officer Debbie Ward can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (850) 233-5100, Ext. 2261.