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Sacramento Fire recruits get a taste of firefighter life in grueling simulation

Watch Sacramento Fire Academy recruits go through the Thirty Hour Day

In a new training tradition, Sacramento firefighter hopefuls made it through a simulation of a typical 30 hour firehouse shift ahead of their Aug. 18 academy graduation.
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In a new training tradition, Sacramento firefighter hopefuls made it through a simulation of a typical 30 hour firehouse shift ahead of their Aug. 18 academy graduation.

On Aug. 18, 40 new recruits graduated from the Sacramento Fire Academy at the Crest Theatre. But the week before that, they endured one of the academy’s newest, and possibly hardest, training traditions.

In a test called the Thirty Hour Shift, all of the skills that recruits have learned over the last 24 weeks were put to the test as they went through a simulation of a normal long day in a busy firehouse, according to a post on the Sacramento Fire Department’s Facebook page.

The day started for the recruits when they arrived in the morning and set up cots in the academy warehouse. But then things started to get crazy for the new would-be firefighters.

As the recruits attempted to go through their daily cleaning, training, cooking and studying, they were constantly interrupted by firefighters and academy staff to be dispatched on simulated fire calls, according to the Facebook post. They headed out in fire engines and ambulances to spots around the academy grounds to respond to car, house and dumpster fires, medical emergencies, car accidents and other real-life situations.

“They must think on their feet, use all of their new-found knowledge and protocols to solve real-time problems, and be prepared for the unknown,” the fire department wrote in their Facebook post. “They are given little time to rest and clean up before the next call is dispatched.”

Just as recruits are settling down for the night in their cots, the calls start coming in faster as they are woken up repeatedly to respond to emergencies. As the fire department wrote in their post, for those without previous firehouse experience, this may be their first time being repeatedly woken up and expected to focus on an important task.

Then, at the end of their thirty hours in their simulated “firehouse,” the recruits clean up and are sent home for the day. This is one of the last bursts of intense training for these recruits before they graduate as firefighters and are assigned to their firehouses.

Emily Zentner: 916-321-1074, @emilymzentner

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