Park City Fire welcomes 7 new firefighters, adds woman to ranks
The Park City Fire District is welcoming a new class of firefighters after an ‘intensive’ training camp. It ends a yearlong stretch during which the district employed zero female firefighters.
To commemorate successfully completing the 14-week training required to become a Park City firefighter, new recruits ring the academy bell, which is brought to the top of the stairs at the Utah Olympic Park ski jumps.
But first, the recruits have to run the stairs 15 times. According to the district, that’s almost 5,000 vertical feet.
Last week, seven new recruits graduated and became probationary firefighters. The stair-climb was just the final hurdle. According to the district, recruits trained and tested in seven different categories, including Advanced EMT and Hazmat Operations.
The newest Park City firefighters are: Matthew Bouffard, Cody Hughes, Shelly Jones, Dylan Kerr, Adam Paulson, Harrison Read and Porter Royce.
Jones is the first female Park City firefighter since July last year. Before that, there had been female firefighters in Park City continuously since the 1980s.
A former Park City firefighter criticized the district last year, saying its leadership does not foster a workplace that advances the careers of female firefighters. Chief Bob Zanetti denied there was a problem with the district’s culture. He said the lack of female firefighters was a symptom of broader hiring challenges in the industry and across the country.
In a release announcing the graduation last week, the district said the new firefighters are ready for the field, and committed and eager to embark on a new career helping others.
Zanetti congratulated the new firefighters.
"You have what is needed to be a firefighter," he wrote in the statement. "Be ready; it's up to you to step up and do it.”
Battalion Chief Max Dosher told the newest firefighters they had proven themselves.
"Our department has faith in you and knows you will succeed," he wrote. "All journeys start with a single step (up the UOP stairs).”