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On left, probationary firefighter Jeffery Bell is sworn in by Hooksett Fire Chief James Burkush. On right, Daniel Andrews addresses Hooksett citizens and town councilors after being sworn in as a probationary firefighter. (Hooksett Fire Department))

Hooksett Fire Department Welcomes Two Recruits

HOOKSETT — At Wednesday night’s Hooksett Town Council meeting, the town’s Fire-Rescue Department welcomed two new probationary firefighters to the team.

Sworn in by Hooksett Fire Chief James Burkush, Jeffrey Bell and Daniel Andrews officially began the year long process of becoming fully authorized firefighters.

Andrews comes to Hooksett from the Dunbarton Fire Department after getting a degree in fire science from Lakes Region Community College, while Bell is a lifelong Hooksett native who graduated from a fire science program at Southern Maine Community College and served with Standish Fire-EMS in Maine.

Although Assistant Fire Chief Steven Colburn said both recruits came to the department with prior fire experience, he said the 12-month probationary period was meant to ensure that both Andrews and Bell were up to speed on all of the equipment and vehicles they’ll be using on the job.

“They’re part of the crew,” said Colburn. “But they may not be able to operate certain apparatuses, depending where they’re at in the probationary process.”

In order to be able to use different pieces of equipment, Colburn said the new firefighters will have to demonstrate certain proficiencies and skills before they can progress to the next stage of their careers.

“For those first couple months, we’re just making sure they’re up to date on all of the basic skills, then we’ll get them into operating all of the vehicles, and each vehicle has a separate task book that they’ve got to complete before they can operate it,” said Colburn. “We always start off with the ambulances and the smaller stuff, so by month six we’re working to them operating the pumper trucks and the larger fire trucks.”

In the three month period before they were hired, Andrews and Bell were required to complete various skills assessments, medical evaluations, and background checks.

Colburn said the department was short staffed during that entire period.

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