Practice test pays offSix people showed up Saturday morning to see what it takes to be a firefighter
By: Emily Zimmer, Rosemount Town Pages
The agility test for the Rosemount Fire Department isn’t easy. At times during the test your lungs will burn, your legs will get shaky and you’ll get noticeably sweaty. But it’s doable, and that’s what the department set out to show people when it held a practice run Saturday morning.
“It’s a good workout,” said Dustin Tchida, one of six curious people who showed up Saturday morning to try the test.
Tchida recently moved to Rosemount and said he’s excited about the opportunity to volunteer. He came out Saturday to see what really went into it.
“You just have to pace yourself,” said Tchida of the course.
Tchida said he has long been interested in becoming a firefighter.
“I think it would be a rush going into a fire but I’m also interested in the safety training,” said Tchida.
The potential candidates for the department turned out to see what the physical requirements are to make it on the department. The candidates, dressed in full bunker gear with an oxygen tank strapped on their back, climbed three flights of stairs twice caring 40 pounds of fire hose. They carried a 40-pound fan around a series of cones; ran with a hose full of water, sprayed it and then hauled a 185-pound dummy 50 ft. To pass, candidates must complete all of the tasks in five minutes or less.
Additionally, to pass the department’s physical standards candidates must climb the ladder truck, which is 75 ft. long, at a 45 degree angle. Candidates must get up and back down the ladder in three minutes.
Many of the men who showed up Saturday passed, although their performance does not count.
The goal of Saturday’s practice run was to drum up interest in the community to join the department. Department secretary Bruce Sword said he feels like the event did just that.
“It looks like people did well and it gave them some familiarity with the test,” said Sword.
During the actual test, which will be held in April, members of the department can’t offer help. But during the practice run they offered tips on how to best accomplish each task, such as holding the hose high up on your shoulder when climbing the stairs.
After Saturday’s turnout, Sword said he feels like the department will likely hold practice tests again.
After going through it, Will Boyd said he will definitely come back in April to try out for the department.
“I’ve done some schooling for it and it’s a way for me to give back,” said Boyd.
Boyd said the experience Saturday reassured him that he’s up for the challenge.
Ryan Chartier said he plans on joining the department in April and came out Saturday just to practice.
“It’s a chance for me to do something that’s not about making money,” said Chartier, of joining the volunteer department.
The department hopes to fill its quota of 50 members next spring. Recruitment has been a struggle, though.
The Rosemount department is paid on call. Firefighters receive $6 per call. The department has a good pension plan. Rosemount firefighters receive $6,900 per year of service on the department. However, firefighters have to be on the department at least 10 years to qualify for a pension.
In 2011 the department responded to 690 medical and fire calls. Additionally, the department holds three training sessions a month.