IFFD welcomes 6 new members

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) – The Idaho Falls Fire Department welcomed six new probationary firefighters to the department and community.

City elected officials, IFFD personnel and the recruits’ families attended a small graduation ceremony Friday inside City Council chambers. All six recruits were hired to fill positions left vacant due to retirements and other circumstances. 

Prior to the academy, candidates completed an online application through Public Safety Testing where they took a written exam and physical ability test. Their scores were then reviewed, and chosen candidates went through a series of interviews with IFFD leadership. 

The 10-week academy, which took place in Idaho Falls consisted of classroom and hands-on instructions on fire behavior, specialized apparatus and equipment, communications, EMS, forcible entry, swift water rescue, rope rescue, wildland firefighting, search and rescue and hazardous material.  

“Every Friday throughout the academy, the recruits spent time with the crews in each of the five stations to become familiar with our personnel and operations,” Captain Scott Wetzel said. “The training was provided by several of our senior firefighters who are well-versed in both firefighting and EMS.”

Throughout their one-year probationary period, the recruits will be closely mentored by senior firefighters and officers. They will continue with ongoing training throughout their career to stay current with technology and best practices while gaining additional qualifications for specialty teams and career advancement. 

“As soon as we hire, we begin training staff to lead this department someday,” Fire Chief Duane Nelson said. “They have worked hard to be here and I congratulate them on their accomplishment and look forward to working with them.”

Henry Auerback is originally from Monrovia, California. He comes to us from Culver City Fire in California and was an EMT for six years.

Edwin Chavez was born in Los Angeles and moved to Las Vegas where his passion to become a firefighter grew after joining the Las Vegas Fire Explorer Program. He was a wildland firefighter for the National Park Service in Lake Mead, volunteered for the Ammon Fire Department and was a full-time firefighter for the Blackfoot Fire Department.  

Levi Harper is a native of Rigby and previously worked for Central Fire District, Blackfoot Fire Department, and as a dispatcher for ISU Public Safety.  

Nic Magliocco has a Bachelor’s Degree in Forestry from the University of Vermont and a Master’s Degree in Education from Sacred Heart University. He is a fishing guide and previously worked for the Ammon Fire Department and was a middle and high school science teacher.  

Brock McCue is from Columbia Falls, Montana where he worked for the Columbia Falls Fire Department. He has also worked for the Frenchtown Rural Fire District and was a wildland firefighter for the Montana Department of Natural Resources. 

Nate Tavernier comes to us from Pocatello. He attended ISU and worked as a volunteer firefighter with the Chubbuck Fire Department.

“Stay focused, learn from your mentors, keep a positive attitude, and never lose sight of the reason you come to work each day and how hard you fought to get here,” said Captain Wetzel, who provides instruction and oversight for the recruit academy states. “The time will pass by quickly, and I promise when you reflect back you will do so with fondness and pride. Ten weeks ago you were strangers; today you’re family.”

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