Six months ago, Hunter Adams walked across his high school stage for graduation. Friday night, he graduated again, this time from Firefighter I/II Certification School.
Adams is one of four of Enterprise Fire Department’s newest firefighters. Chris Bedsole, Bruce Hardy and Addison Hudson also graduated from the 11-week course that focuses on the basics of firefighting, hazmat, rapid intervention and more.
“I’ve always thought being a firefighter was pretty cool,” Adams said. He’s the first in his family to become a firefighter. His parents, grandparents, girlfriend and her mom attended graduation. But now his family unit and support system are even bigger. He’s now part of a unique brotherhood.
“I knew nobody going into the course, but the guys I was in school with, being with them every day, we got really close.” Even though three of the four are now on different shifts, Adams said he expects them to remain close, especially because they’re all considered rookies.
“I really have no clue what I’m doing. I mean I’ve been to school, and I’ve been on shift a couple of times, but it’s an all-new experience. I really don’t know anything, but I’m looking forward to doing the job and learning from these guys,” Adams said, referencing the handful of other firefighters nearby.
There’s not only a brotherhood among them, but a natural mentorship that forms in the fire station. Enterprise Fire runs on a one day on, two days off schedule. Each station has five or six people working that shift, so the firefighters are bound to bond. At 19, Adams is one of the youngest. The average age in the Department is 37, with nine years of experience and plenty of stories to tell.
That mentorship and bond is something Enterprise Fire Chief Christopher Davis is depending on. He said while the new firefighters aren’t directly assigned mentors, he expects the senior firefighters to keep a close eye on the newer ones.
“They’re the most eager, they’re the most excited,” Davis said. “They’re the most jazzed to do things that make others nervous.”
But, he said, those nerves go away with experience and training.
“These new graduates are the next generation of the Enterprise Fire Department. We’ve got a great group to help them learn and grow,” Davis said. “The training doesn’t stop at graduation. It’s part of every shift.”
For Adams and the rest of the rookies, EMT certification is next. That, and real-world experience, which Davis said will come with time.
“We obviously don’t want anything bad to happen to anyone, but in this line of work, our job is to respond, assess and act. Our community expects us to do a job and my job is to make sure we do it well. I have no doubt these new four firefighters will do just that,” Davis said.
Adams said he’s most looking forward to doing the job he’s been training for, for the last three months.
“My long-term plan is to be in the same line of work,” Adams said with a smile. “I hope it’s here in Enterprise. I like it here. I plan on doing this for a long time.”