42 new firefighters on the job in Ottawa

Ottawa welcomes 42 newly trained firefighters from the largest graduating class in the history of the fire service.

There are now 42 newly trained firefighters in Ottawa as the largest graduating class in the history of the fire service began their careers this week.

Chief John deHooge said the department needs the influx of firefighters because about 200 people are expected to retire from the service during the next five years.

"There's nothing like the experiential knowledge where somebody grabs you by the shoulder and says, 'Don't go there because the floor looks like it's going to collapse' or 'A wall is going to collapse' and so that's a concern for us," deHooge said Friday during a graduation ceremony at the Nepean Sportsplex. "So we're trying to put a a lot of emphasis on training our staff as much as we can, to compensate for all that experience that we're losing," he said.

The newly minted firefighters are assigned to fire stations across the city and will rotate through the system every three months until their probationary year is over.

The recruits went through 12 weeks of training, including academic and physical evaluations. Training includes fire control, self-rescue, search and rescue, fire behaviour, high-rise building procedures, water rescue, hazardous materials handling, fire prevention, and getting trapped people out of a vehicle.