FLORENCE – Firefighters respond to a fire somewhere in the nation every 24 seconds.
Multiple departments in the Bitterroot valley work together to cover the area and three of those departments recently graduated new volunteers.
New firefighters in Western Montana have spent the past five weeks going through basic training.
Six new recruits from the Florence, Stevensville, and Three Mile fire departments spent the last day of their training in Sunday putting out live fires.
Florence Volunteer Fire Department (FVFD) spokesman John Ames pointed out the Ravalli County departments often work together.
“They’re an excellent group, they work well together and they’re a good representative of their individual fire departments and a reflection on the communities that they live in,” Ames said.
The trainings involve sawing through roofs, climbing on buildings, and putting out fires from inside a burning building.
FVFD Captain Leah Rediske explained that Sunday’s training focused on structure fires, but the group is also prepared to deal with wildfires.
“I think they’re ready. They’ve graduated, they’ve learned a lot and they’ve had a good time doing it,” Rediske told MTN News
Ames says you never know how many people will be available at the time of an emergency, so it’s nice to have new volunteers.
“It’s been an exciting five weeks and well see where all this takes us,” Ames concluded.
There are almost 80 fire departments in Montana, and most are volunteer-led.
Reporting by Katie Miller for MTN News