RCFD commences training for 18 new recruits

For 12 weeks, the recruits will endure classroom study, drill training and much more. 

RAPID CITY, S.D. — A total of 18 new recruits are now training to join the ranks of the Rapid City Fire Department.

For 12 weeks, the recruits will endure classroom study, drill training and much more.

It’s one of the largest number of recruits to come through training, all hired to answer a greater call for service and fill the boots of other firefighters before them.

“We also are kind of in a wave in our fire department,” said Captain Mike Bartling with the Rapid City Fire Department. “We have a lot of retirements and a lot of people leaving, so we had to fill all those spots and obviously we didn’t want to do that for one or two people, but we don’t normally do it for 18 people.”

The selection is competitive, these recruits were chosen out of 100-200 applicants. The recruits are from all over the U.S.

Places like Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska and even Florida.

This class also features locals who’ve been trying to get on the department for years, like Cadet Schleusner. He’s a former Lawrence County Correctional Officer who’s fulfilling his dream of becoming a firefighter.

After a call where he needed to perform he CPR, knew this was the place for him.

“We had to perform CPR and and try to sustain vitals, and when they showed up,” said Clayton Schleusner, a Firefighter/Medic Recruit with the Rapid City Fire Department. “It was just like a light bulb went off and it was like ‘that’s what I want to do’.”

Other cadets like Cadet Stephens is coming in Florida.

He has experience as a firefighter and wanted to do his part to serve a growing community.

“The city of Rapid (City) is growing,” said Sage Stephens, a firefighter/medic with the Rapid City Fire Department. “It’s growing every day and you know there is a need for firefighter paramedics. It grows just like the city grows, so does the public safety. So, I did feel the need and it was a great opportunity for me to move out here at the time because the department is growing I get the opportunity to grow with the department,” Stephens said.

Cadets from different places and backgrounds are training together to service the Rapid City community.

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