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Local News

June 7, 2012

DFD adds seven firefighters to ranks

DUNCAN — The Duncan Fire Department hasn’t just added seven new firefighters to its staff; it has added seven new tools to help save lives and property.

The rookie firefighters have been with the department from between one and six months. The rookies are Carson Atkinson, Chase Hansen, Lance Hodges, Shayne McDonald, Shane Neighbors and Lane Smiley.

“It’s great,” said Deputy Fire Chief Dayton Burnside. “It’s a tremendous asset.”

Burnside said by hiring seven firefighters, the department is able to ensure adequate staffing. Having adequate staffing is essential, he said, because it provides extra help to everyone involved, from property owners to the firefighters themselves.

“For emergency instances, adequate staffing makes it safer,” he said. “It’s better for everyone.”

To become permanent firefighters for Duncan, the rookies have to undergo training and testing. They also have to work with every other firefighter and will be evaluated.

The firefighters have to study every street in Duncan and have to know them flawlessly. Their training includes in-house training, EMT Basic, Firefighter I and Firefighter II training.

“They’ll be continuously trained throughout their careers,” Burnside said. “There’s a lot involved within the first year. This is the foundation.”

The rookies will be on a probationary period for one year. Every three months, they are rotated to another shift and have to work at every station within the Duncan city limits.

Burnside said each shift will evaluate the rookies.

Hansen has been with the fire department since January, and McDonald joined a little more than a month ago. Both have family members who have been involved in the fire service, and the two rookies said they have helped however they could.

“It’s something I’ve always been around,” McDonald said. “My dad and my uncle were volunteers.

“It’s a career I always thought would be exciting,” he added. “I wanted to change the community for the better. It’s something I enjoy.”

Hansen said many of his family members have served as firefighters. He likes being able to help others and enjoys the camaraderie among the firefighters, referring to the department as “a family.”

He has already gone through his Firefighter I, Firefighter II and EMT Basic training. McDonald will start training in August or September.

Both said they are glad to have the opportunity to help others.

“It’s a good feeling,” Hansen said. “It’s all for a good cause.”

McDonald had similar thoughts.

“It makes you proud you can make a difference in somebody’s life,” he said.

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