COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - As approaching winter months are expected to keep firefighters busy across the region, Columbus officials are hoping 25 new firefighters can help them tackle the predicted workload.
"We normally run one class per year, but this year we actually ran two classes to back-fill some shortages that we had in the department," said Lt. Charles Herlth with the Columbus Fire and EMS department.
An influx of local brush fires and an expected busy season ahead for structure fires is stretching resources thin, but the Columbus Fire and EMS department is bulking up.
"I enjoy helping people. I love helping people, always have," said recent graduate Brandon Sheets, and now 24 other recently graduated cadets will have the opportunity to do just that. On Friday the group took their pledges to serve.
Fire officials tell us the extra hands on deck will not only help keep Columbus safe should a disaster strike, but help keep fellow first responders stay sharp and not over-worked.
Lt. Charles Herlth says, "We have to establish that camaraderie and that team work ethic in their mind right away because we don't fight fire by ourselves. It's a team effort."
Some graduates tell us they are excited to start at their first station, while others are still looking to advance their medical training, however, all know they will be needed.
"With the cooler weather coming in, a lot of people have fire pits, things like that going on outside. I would just say to be cautious with that. There have been quite a few brush fires and grass fires in the recent months," said firefighter Hunter Kinsman.