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Firefighter Hopefuls Show Off Skills

Reported: Apr. 17, 2014 5:17 PM EDT
Updated: Apr. 17, 2014 6:39 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Fallon Pierson) -- Ever wondered what it feels like in a real-life fire fight?

First responders work in tough conditions and are under incredible stress.

Firefighter hopefuls showed off their skills Thursday. A group of 10 probationary firefighters was hired by the Charleston department last July.
If they pass the challenge, they'll become permanent fixtures at various stations throughout the capital city.

"I'm tired,” Joseph Huston, who passed the test, said. “My legs feel like Jell-o, but I feel pretty good."

Huston said he's been preparing six months for the test. Huston said the long hours spent training have paid off.

"There are some nights where we don't get to sleep or anything,” he said. “There are some nights where we've missed a meal or two.”

The test is designed to simulate real emergencies to gauge how the probationary firefighters deal with disaster.

"You start out with the ladder climb, and then you do a salvage cover, which is protecting property,” firefighter Donald Funkle said. “When you climb back down, you do rope back tie-offs. You do a dummy drag, which simulates rescuing a victim out of a house."

All of the tasks are timed, and have to be finished while wearing 50 extra pounds of gear.

Training officers said fighting fires isn't for everyone. However, they said even with the heavy responsibility of the job, there is also great reward.

"If you think coming here and just going through the motions is going to get you through it, it’s not,” training officer Darren Virag said. “You have to do the work and reap the benefits,”

The Charleston Fire Department is accepting applications.

Also, paramedics who are interested in firefighting can pick up forms at city hall.



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