Lewiston Fire Department hires only the best from their reserve pool

LEWISTON, ID - It was the second day of testing for the Lewiston Fire Department. Reporter Sophia Miraglio spent the day with the guys and found out first hand just how tough it is to be called a Lewiston firefighter.

To be the best you need to have the best on your team, and the Lewiston Fire Department knows this.

"We want to, we are putting the best individual into the public's hands," said Interim Fire Chief Travis Myklebust. "I mean that's our jobs, our job is to serve the public. And so we want to make sure we have an individual that is competent, that can do the job."

Which is why the department only hires from their reserve pool, however to be a reserve firefighter takes weeks of extensive training. And after that you still don't have a full time job, which is why 13 of those men are now trying to make the ultimate cut.

"We are testing our paid reserve firefighters for a full time hiring list," said LFD Interim Div. Chief of Operations, Gaylon Waits.

In order to get on that list, candidates have to interview well, pass a written test and complete many physical tests.

"Really, probably now their biggest enemy is their nerves and being able to apply what they know in real life situations," said Waits.

Conducting a search and rescue is one of the many things that each reserve officer has to do, not only do they go into this house behind me blind but they also have to be prepared for anything.

Set standards also require firefighters to get ready in 90 seconds, so rightfully so candidates were tested on this.

And to say the least I could definitely use some practice.

"You're wearing about 35 to 40 pounds and then when you put on the air pack, you're adding another 25 to 30 pounds on top of that," said Myklebust. "So normally we say firefighters wear about 60 to 65 pounds of additional equipment when they're engaging in firefighter activity."

But in the spirit of not giving up I got a small taste of what the reserves have to do in order to become one of Lewiston's finest.

"Someone in this test that is going on today and tomorrow will end up with a full time job come the middle of November," said Myklebust.

It's been two years since a hiring list has been made. Interim Chief Travis Myklebust is expected to publish the new list later Tuesday night.