EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The El Paso Fire Department Training Academy is back in action after a year-long delay due to the pandemic.
The first training academy started last Monday, with 45 recruits in the class for a seven month-long academy.
The fire department was supposed to hold an academy in 2020 but that was abruptly brought to a halt when COVID-19 was first reported in El Paso.
Because of that, the last academy held was in 2019. Daniel Roy, the Battalion Chief at the training academy, said there is definitely a need for more firefighters since they didn’t hold an academy last year.
There are some changes to this academy, such as the length of the course.
“The academies have traditionally been 5-6 months, this one has an additional month, it’s not COVID-19 related its more of a pilot plan in place to just add more of a higher quality of service and product in a recruit,” Roy said.
The department also has COVID-19 precautions in place. Recruits and instructors must wear masks at all times, except for lunch, they’re tested for COVID-19 periodically and hand sanitizing stations are placed around the academy grounds.
“Everyday when trainees come in we take temperature we want to make sure for any signs symptoms and fever anything like that its identified early on then we tested all trainees even though vaccines were taken.”
There will also be another academy later on in the year.