Fireighter recruits prepare to 'change lives and save lives'

Firefighter recruits stand at attention Tuesday as Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert and Omaha Fire Chief Bernie Kanger enter their classroom at the start of the recruits' 16-week training course.

The new Omaha fire recruit class kicked off 16 weeks of training Tuesday with a welcome from Fire Chief Bernie Kanger and Mayor Jean Stothert.

Kanger and the mayor, speaking at the fire and police training academy at 11616 Rainwood Road, outlined what was expected of the recruits now and throughout their careers.

"I want men and women of integrity, professionalism and humility," Kanger said. He said that while anyone can learn to fight fires, "I can't teach you how to live our core values. Only you can do that."

The 25 recruits — 22 men and three women — will undergo 16 weeks of classroom and physical training, which will include search and rescue, hazardous-materials handling and emergency medical response.

After that, the firefighters will be assigned to an Omaha fire station and be on probation until the end of the year. Then, the former "probies" can choose whether to take on additional training, such as paramedic or special operations, said Battalion Chief Tim McCaw, a fire department spokesman.

The recruits bring the department's authorized strength to 652.

"You have the opportunity to change lives and save lives," Stothert told them. "Remember that."

Contact the writer: 402-444-3100,

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.