Stephanie Heglin comes from a family of firefighters. Not only did her grandfather and grandmother served in the past, but her father and uncle both currently hold positions.
These family ties helped to inspire her to take up this demanding profession as well. However, it was not as easily said as done.
In Spokane County’s Fire District 9 and District 1 in Stevens County, recruit school is 2 days a week for 7 weeks. This begins the training and the year and a half probation period for new firefighters. Right away recruits are thrust into the reality of the job, taking shifts, and taking hazardous materials and Emergency Vehicle Incident Prevention (EVIP) classes before they even start school.
When asked if some recruits quit before they complete training or their probation, Heglin said that a few do quit. Then questioned whether she had thought about quitting she answered: “I did quit, 2 weeks into recruit school.” She explained that there were struggles in her life, but 6 months later she gave it another try, and has now completed her probation.
She says that a common misconception is that firefighters go on a lot of fire calls or car accidents, but the majority of their calls are actually medical in nature. Heglin recommends becoming a firefighter “to anybody who wants to give back and wants to help others.”
Now that Heglin has earned her badge, she plans to continue to serve as a volunteer firefighter, as well as a resident (a firefighter who goes on calls off shift and helps maintain the station). Her long term goal is to go to nursing school, and continue to serve the community she was raised in.