HELENA – This week marks the first week Helena’s nine newest firefighters begin their new shifts.
The new hires have been in training for several months and will continue their probationary period for the first year. But they are now divided up into the three shifts worked by Helena firefighters.
Battalion Chief Fred Pippin says the newest members are having a significant impact on their ability to respond to calls.
“That actually gives us additional functional crew,” says Pippin. “Where we can be attacking, doing a primary search and fire control and we have an additional crew that can be doing rescue and search operations, so it’s a big thing for us.”
The new firefighters were made possible by a levy passed by voters in May. However, that levy can now be phased in thanks to an $800,000 SAFER grant the department was awarded in August.
Reporting by Melissa Jensen for MTN News