Anniston Fire Department Training New Recruits Through Bridge Program


It’s just a regular Thursday for many. But for Anniston’s Fire Department, it’s day eight for a rigorous program. The Bridge program is a recruiting school where ten weeks worth of conditioning and training is compressed into a five week course.

The program is for recruits who already have their certified volunteer certificate obtained through high school programs for juniors and seniors. This five-week course consists of classroom study, drill field practice, and training evolutions that prepare firefighters to perform most fireground functions. The pressure is on for the only female recruit this year Ashlee Barnard as she shares what the program has been like for her.

The program is nine hours Monday through Friday that requires recruits to be mentally strong. The intensity of the bridge program is higher than any other recruiting program. With three lost recruits already, Captain Johnnie Phelps explains how difficult the program really is. Paco May is one of the 19 recruits still standing after being 8 days into the bridge program.

May tells us why he appreciates the way instructors are training him. The goal of the Bridge Program is to achieve firefighter one and two certifications. Recruits from all over have traveled to the Anniston Fire Department in order to become certified firefighters in Alabama.

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