Firefighters recruit their kids to help boost declining numbers

The women both put aside the notion that they are any stronger than the average person.

"We're no braver than most people," said Newton. "If my house was burning down, I'd rely on others. It's our instinct to go in and help other people."

"It is scary. But saving someone is just necessary; we have to trust our training and equipment," said Waugh.

Both mother and daughter admitted they worry more about the other than themselves in an emergency situation. But every week, they put aside those worries and put in the time for weekly training and drills.

"It's a huge time commitment," said Newton. "But it's been an incredible bonding experience for us."

Increasing training demands

BLFD members face stiff requirements for early and ongoing training, including weekly drills, fire truck and firefighting equipment inspections and maintenance, and renewing their qualifications on specific apparatus, trucks and rescue boats.

On the county level, firefighters are required to complete a nearly 100-hour training course that replaced a series of shorter courses once known as Fire Fighter Essentials. They also take state and National Fire Academy training courses on pump operations, auto extrication, hazardous materials, water rescue and fire science. Most departments require members to contribute a minimum amount of time each month into each of these areas. Members in New York fire departments typically contribute 20 to 100 hours per month or more.

"A great deal of time and effort is expended to properly train a firefighter to be prepared for contemporary emergencies," said BLFD Fire Chief William Losert. "As most everyone is aware, firefighting goes well beyond simply 'putting the wet stuff on the red stuff.'"

The Young Adult Volunteers aren't exempt from the tough hours; they log in many hours weekly including training and drills on Monday nights and most Saturday mornings.

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