Main Street drivers spied firefighter candidates high in the skies above them last week, as the candidates for the Edwardsville Fire Department went through physical testing.
The ladder truck was parked in the fire department parking lot with the ladder fully extended while firefighters secured a safety harness for the candidates. Each candidate had to climb the ladder all the way to the top, both to ensure they have the physical ability to do so and to make sure they can handle the heights, according to fire chief Rick Welle.
The candidates begin with a written exam, and the best of them are chosen for personal interviews and physical testing. Those with the best scores are put on a list to attend the fire academy and be trained — both as firefighters and paramedics. The whole process generally takes about two years, Welle said.
Edwardsville plans to add about six firefighters to its department when it builds the new satellite station on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Welle said. The expansion is part of the plan to build a new public safety building downtown, putting police and fire departments in the same building, and restructure emergency response in the city to accommodate growing and shifting population patterns.
Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2507.