There are over 300 'probies,' or probationary firefighters, in the latest academy class about to enter the force as New York’s newest firefighters.
FOX NY reported on a day in the life of a probie, as they are affectionately called within the ranks. The men and women in the current class are only two weeks away from finishing their vigorous training.
No matter rain or shine, their days start with physical activity. Push-ups, sit-ups and a mile and half run are performed each morning. Being physically fit is vital to a fireman’s survival, especially when fighting a ferocious blaze.
The training grounds are set on the land of the New York City Fire Academy, which is situated on 27 acres that is filled with faux storefronts, high-rise apartment building shells, and burn rooms that can ignite within seconds.
To give the probies the real feel of a blacked-out fire situation, their face masks are blacked out. It teaches them how to search for victims, even when they cannot see. It gives them a sense of what it feels like when they have to carry 120 pounds of equipment without knowing what is in front of them or if the floor below is getting ready to collapse.
Probies practice using each other as their victims, giving them a sense of being the rescuer and the rescued. They feel what it is like to lower a body four stories with a robe or be lowered four stories strapped in a harness and depending on someone else to bring them to safety.
The training they go through teaches them important lessons. It shows them that even though blinded by fire and smoke, they must battle on. They begin to understand that the public trusts them to save them from the perils they will face. It teaches them that they will have to depend on each other to get the job done. It makes them proud to call themselves FDNY firefighters.