Firefighters Graduate

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Men and women across the Wiregrass have switched career paths to become firefighters. Graduation ceremony was held Friday afternoon and they told News 4 why they considered one of the most dangerous professions.

Barry Hicks is one of 14 firefighter students that have graduated from Dothan’s firefighter candidate school. Middle-age, hicks has completely changed career paths.

“I've always wanted to be a firefighter, my father was a firefighter, it’s always been in my blood, ever since I can remember I could hear a siren going off and I wanted to be there with it and I'm here now,” said Hicks.

However being wasn’t easy. Students must go through 12 weeks of rigorous basic training. Four of those weeks included EMT courses.

Students were also given written test, with only 24 hours of advance notice

“I've been out of school for about 15 years and it was hard to get back into a study routine,” said Hicks

“They have to learn basic ladder principles from climbing ladders to rescuing victims. They actually rescue each other, they handled basic tools and equipment,” said Capt. Chris Etheredge.

Even though 100 firefighters die a year, graduates say that's a risk they are willing to take

“Very much my heart is into this and it’s like a dream come true to become a firefighter,” said Tim Wright.

Firefighter training school occurs once a year in Dothan. There hasn't been a fatality involving a Dothan firefighter since 1943.