NAMPA, Idaho — The Nampa-Caldwell Joint Fire Academy graduated 16 new firefighters Saturday, split evenly between the Caldwell Fire Department (CFD) and the Nampa Fire Department.
The eight new firefighters at CFD will start their first shift on March 27 and respond to emergency calls. Friends and family packed the Nampa Fire Training Center to celebrate the new graduates with an official badge pinning ceremony.
"We were all pretty much the same team," Class valedictorian Theo Rich said. "It'll be weird to split ways and go to different departments, but we're all working together when we go on mutual aid calls."
The joint academy is a new strategy to streamline training, costs and communication between both departments, according to Caldwell Fire Chief Richard Frawley. As both cities continue to grow, calls can overlap where both departments must work together in response.
"It's actually increasingly common," Frawley said. "Structure fires, vehicles accidents, technical rescues - those are the events where we are working side by side."
The academy is a 15-week course to teach the technical skills required to respond to a range of emergency calls, according to Caldwell Fire. The joint academy model was born out of conversations between Canyon County fire chiefs and their shared desire to think of a better way to operate.
"If we forge our training resources together, we're gonna be more effective and efficient, and actually save taxpayer money," Frawley said. "Because it is a team. We're better together."
The next joint academy will begin training in April, according to Frawley.
"I think it's a very good step forward for the future of both departments, and for the community," Rich said. "Good to feel it coming to a close. We're all excited to start working."
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