The new class of recruits for the Cincinnati Fire Department is now in its second week of training.
This is the third recruit class with salaries completely funded for two years by a federal SAFER grant.
More than 50 recruits are training at Station 29 in the West End, and their training is expected to have a huge impact. Since 2009, the department has had brownouts, forcing them to shut down, on average, five companies a day.
But, how big of an impact could this class have?
They could be the class that finally ends those brownouts.
"It's very rewarding to know that we're going to make a difference in people's lives," said Michael Allen, one of the recruits.
Allen is just one of the recruits that makes up the class known as Recruit Class 113.
"It's more than a dream. Like I've told people in the past few weeks, it's been 27 years of dreaming and grinding away," Allen said.
This class is a very unique one.
"Right now, we're only doing two brownouts a day, at the max. When they come out in November, that is the hope, that we are going to be down to zero," said Capt. Jack Klosterman of the Cincinnati Fire Department.
Millions in federal grant money pays the salaries of these firefighters for the next two years. This is the last of three recruit classes to make it through training in the last 18 months. It's a move that makes things safer for the department, and taxpayers.
"You can get back to what the staffing should properly be so people can do the job safer. It's an unsafe job, but do it as safe as we possibly can. That's what getting rid of the brownouts will do," Klosterman told FOX19.
With two weeks of training down, these recruits have 24 more to go before they hit the streets.
"It's an absolutely wonderful feeling to know that we are going to end the brownouts, and we are going to be there quicker for the citizens," said Allen.
Klosterman tells FOX19 that potentially ending the brownouts is more than just a faster response time. It's a big deal for the department, as well. He says the brownouts have been a big blow to morale, and a lot of wear and tear on the department.
Jennifer Spieser, Grants Administrator & Community Affairs PIO for the Cincinnati Fire Department tells FOX19 in an email: "It's critical for CFD to continue to have annual recruit classes – to maintain their staffing levels," adding, "We do not have the next recruit class date schedule – it depends on many factors."
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