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Largest firefighter recruit class in history now underway

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By Carol A. Clark

The current class of 34 recruits marks the largest ever assembled by the Los Alamos Fire Department in its 19-year history since joining the county.

Battalion Chief Edward Henry Ortiz heads up the LAFD training division responsible for molding the men and women recruits into top-notch firefighters.

“We’ve got a great group ranging in age from late teens to early 40s,” Ortiz said. “The majority are from New Mexico whereas last year we had about a 50-50 mix of recruits from New Mexico and those from out of state.”

This year, the LAFD has enhanced the physical fitness aspect of its training program to include an aerobic element. Mike Hopwood from Los Alamos National Laboratory trains the recruits three times a week.

“Mike’s program is very impressive and really adds to the strength training we give the recruits,” Ortiz said.

Another first for this class is the fact that they are training at the new White Rock Fire Station. That location was selected because of its large classroom, Ortiz said.

Another benefit of holding the class at the larger station, he said, is that the operations personnel there have shared their expertise with the recruits.

The class began Aug. 11 and as is typical in every class, Ortiz said, several members had to drop out for personal reasons.


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