Montevallo holds firefighter rookie school

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Six new recruits and six regular volunteer firemen are enrolled in Montevallo&8217;s 160-hour Volunteer Firefighters&8217; Rookie School.

This year, the previous 40-hour program is being enlarged to 160 hours in order for these students to meet the requirements for full volunteer fireman certification.

Lance Byrd, one of Montevallo&8217;s three qualified instructors, is teaching the class.

The new class is made up of students and workers from a variety of backgrounds. There are college students, a police officer, an accountant, a salesman and a power company lineman.

Chief Bill Reid told us that he takes pride in the fact that Montevallo&8217;s volunteer service attracts a wide variety of people. The subject matter used in the program is difficult and the time demands are tough. Volunteers study topics such as safety, fire behavior, building construction, ropes and knots, rescue and resuscitation. Classes are conducted 35-40 hours a month.

That&8217;s a huge commitment for people who have full time jobs &045;&045; as most do.

When asked what he thought of the new class, Lance Byrd said, &8220;I&8217;ve been really pleased with the fact that we have 12 who are willing to spend that large amount of time, plus running calls and attending regular meetings. We are extremely proud of both the new and the old volunteers and in this department&8217;s contribution to our community.&8221;

And the pride is much deserved. Due to the fine work of the service, Montevallo has for several years maintained an ISO (insurance) rating of 3.0.

This rating is held by only a few cities with volunteer fire departments. Montevallo&8217;s fire and rescue department now has 41 volunteers, 14 of which are employed by other cities as firemen and/or medics but give their spare time to Montevallo. That speaks volumes for this small city&8217;s volunteer service and the loyalty of its members.

Reid, a 37-year-veteran of the department, who has served as chief for the last 10 years said volunteer departments draw people in because of the comraderie.

&8220;Volunteer fire service is attractive because it&8217;s like a football team or a band,&8221; said Reid. &8220;We depend on each other. The whole fire service is a real close brotherhood.&8221;

Montevallo has trained many young people through both its Explorer program and the channels of their regular volunteer program.

The new Rookie School will graduate well-trained firemen who will benefit personally from the training and who will enhance the already-excellent volunteer fire service.

Catherine Legg can be reached via e-mail at