By Gabrielle Gasser ASSOCIATE EDITOR
BELGRADE – On a sunny spring afternoon in the shadow of the Bridger Mountains, two firefighters work together to force entry into a building and hose it down, hurried along by shouts from watching instructors.
This exercise, which took place on April 27, is part of a 12-week Gallatin Valley Fire Academy training course for new recruits. Three agencies—Big Sky Fire Department, Bozeman Fire Department and Central Valley Fire District—have partnered up for the first time ever to conduct a joint training academy. The goal is to pool each organization’s resources as well as to build stronger relationships between the three departments.
There are currently seven recruits, six for Central Valley and one for Bozeman, completing the course that will prepare them to join their respective crews. Trainees complete a different module each week, covering a wide range of topics including structural and wildland firefighting, vehicle extrication, hazardous materials, and technical rescue.
According to Central Valley Fire District Training Officer Anthony Stratman, current firefighters are also joining the recruits for some much-needed refreshers to prepare for the upcoming fire season. With recent drought conditions in Montana, Stratman said significant fire behavior is expected this summer.
“We’re trying to prepare as much for [fire season] as we can, but the rest is up to nature,” Stratman said.
Below are some photos of recruits learning hose management at the Central Valley Training Center on April 27.