Six New Firefighters Swear to Protect Community

Six new members of the Los Alamos Fire Department, Ernesto Polson, Daniel Martinez, Kenny Martinez, David Apodaca, Sam Meyersick and Nathan Sisneros, were sworn in during the Fire Recruit Academy Graduation Ceremony for Fire Recruit Class #24, Friday at the White Rock Baptist Church, 80 N.M. 4 in White Rock. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

By Carol A. Clark

Days at the Academy can be long and difficult for individuals seeking to become firefighters with the internationally accredited Los Alamos Fire Department.

While many who attempt the school do not complete it, the LAFD on Friday honored six men who showed that they possess the drive, dedication and physical ability to power through the demanding 22-week program.

Ernesto Polson, Daniel Martinez, Kenny Martinez, David Apodaca, Sam Meyersick and Nathan Sisneros comprise Fire Recruit Class #24.

The new firefighters were honored at a graduation ceremony Friday by senior LAFD and County officials including Fire Chief Troy Hughes and County Administrator Harry Burgess as well as family and friends.

County officials and family and friends turned out to honor the newest firefighters in Los Alamos County during a graduation ceremony Friday morning at the White Rock Baptist Church. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

The atmosphere was jubilant at Friday’s graduation cermony. Family members appeared proud as they pinned shiny new badges on the cadets, who expressed relief at making the cut.

Photo by Carol A. Clark/

The Academy is run in a military fashion and the recruits began their day at 7 a.m., finish by 5:30 p.m., and work a 24‐hour day every other week to gain an idea of true life in the firehouse.

While at the Academy, they were required to participate in rigorous physical activities that included regular exercise and running activities as well as intensive firefighting tactics training.

The six recruits participated in an exercise program with wellness staff members two to three times per week along with recovery/location runs of two to five miles and overall conditioning that included push‐ups, pull‐ups and more.

They participated in an intensive learning environment in which they were taught the basics of all firefighting work that includes among other things, Incident Command, Emergency Medicine, Firefighting Tactics, Ventilation Techniques, Vehicle Extrication, Technical Rescue, Communications, Vehicle Operations, Hazardous Materials, Fire Investigations, Forcible Entry, Search and Rescue, Fire  Suppression, Firefighter Survival, and Rescue.

Because the LAFD is internationally accredited by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (Center for Public Safety Excellence), and is an ISO Class 1 Fire Department, recruits are held to a very high standard as they progress through the Academy.

Photo by Carol A. Clark/

The Los Alamos Fire Department is the third largest career fire department in New Mexico.

The Department provides a multi‐disciplined, multi‐dimensional mission of fire, rescue, emergency medical, public education and life safety services to the citizens and visitors of Los Alamos County.

Included in those services are the protection of Los Alamos National Laboratory, protection of the communities of Los Alamos and White Rock and assistance in the provision of emergency response for an extensive urban wildland interface.

The department operates six fire stations with 150 budgeted positions, including 139 shift firefighters and thre shift battalion chiefs, six chief and staff officers assigned to days and 11 civilian support staff.

For more information and to learn the minimum qualifications to apply to become a firefighter with the Los Alamos Fire Department, visit

Photo by Carol A. Clark/

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