As of June 1st, Airdrie's five newest paramedic firefighters were officially ready to roll.

For the past nine weeks, they have been partaking in recruiting schools and learning all kinds of new skills. Now they are on shift and learning even more in real time.

The increase in staffing levels comes after the city council approved the new hires in their budget in November 2023. Airdrie Fire Chief Mike Pirie is ecstatic to have more members on the team.

"One of the things that stands out with me with this group is that they understand that whole concept of mission and service. I'm proud of them."

The newest firefighters include Grant, Mathew, Dave, Brayden and Trevor (last names withheld for confidentiality).

From left to right: Grant, Mathew, Dave, Brayden and Trevor.Photo provided by Airdrie Fire Chief Mike Pirie. From left to right: Grant, Mathew, Dave, Brayden and Trevor.

"Our competition (for the five positions) started at the end of last year and rolled in through the spring, I believe we had over 100 candidates. They went through all of our testing processes, and started training a nine-week training program where we do a lot of skills validation, and add in a lot of skills that we use in Airdrie that perhaps haven't been taught elsewhere."

Some of the training included primary care paramedic, anything rescue-related, simulating a fire and having clear communication.

"I'm very confident that we pulled the five best individuals from when we started."

 Back when testing was starting up, 49 individuals were registered. That number is slightly lower than what they saw in previous years when hiring new firefighters.

"We are grateful that the council recognizes the need to increase the amount of staff that are on our frontline with the new fire station being built within a few years.

As of right now, the new Highland Park Fire Station is scheduled to be built in the city's northeast by 2026 when Airdrie's population is anticipated to reach the 94,000 mark.

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