Of the multitude of Larimer County Sheriff’s Office deputies, emergency services personnel and local department firefighters who worked diligently during the High Park Fire this summer, one group of first responders went relatively unnoticed: the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Services on-call firefighters.
This group of approximately 70 dedicated firefighters work on-call year round to help keep Larimer County residents safe. They all have other jobs or go to school. They range from students at Colorado State University to architects to structure firefighters who take time off from their regular schedules to assist with wildland fires throughout Larimer County and sometimes elsewhere where firefighters are needed.
On-call firefighters must reside in Larimer County and are required to complete the Basic Wildland Firefighter Training before being put on the Sheriff’s call list. This 40-hour training consists of four basic firefighter courses required by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. This training provides the basic training and information necessary to become qualified as a Type 2 Wildland Firefighter and earn “red card” certification required to work on forest fires.
In addition to the basic training, all firefighters are required to complete eight hours of wildland firefighter refresher training annually along with a physical fitness test consisting of a 3-mile hike while carrying 45 pounds of equipment within 45 minutes. Additional training for the on-call firefighters is held monthly lasting two to three hours.
For those who might be interested in being an on-call firefighter for Larimer County , a Basic Wildland Firefighter course will be offered by the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Services and Colorado State University’s Student Firefighter Association beginning on February 6, 2013 in Fort Collins. Information about the program can be obtained from Marianne Maxfield at 303-239-5878. Information about the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Services firefighters can be obtained from Justin Whitesell at 970-498-5301.