By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
HFD names its first senior firefighter
John Hass talks with members of the department's Explorers troop. - photo by Photo provided.
Hinesville Fire Department promoted John Hass as their first senior firefighter this past month, and the newly created position brings with it a lot of responsibility.
“I have to be a better example for the other firefighters now, and as a senior firefighter I have to try to help others be better firefighters and become senior firefighters themselves”, Hass said.
Certifications must be obtained to become a senior firefighter, including national certification as a firefighter II, Haz-Mat technician, basic life support instructor, child safety seat technician, and medical training to the level of first responder or higher.
Some of the classes required are interior search and rescue, pressurized container fire control, structural fire control and incident command.
In addition to the educational requirements, the candidate has to have been a firefighter with the department for a minimum of three years, have had no disciplinary action for the previous year, and their annual performance evaluation must have a satisfactory or higher rating in all categories.
Hass first joined the department in March 2003 as a reserve firefighter, and then was hired as a full-time firefighter in August of the same year.
“I enjoyed it (being a RFF) and it was very interesting, so I came up here as much as I could, to work with some of the shifts,” Hass said. “The department was very supportive of my getting training as a reserve firefighter and they have continued to help me become a better firefighter.”
In addition to working as a fulltime firefighter, which consists of 24-hour shifts, Hass is also the program coordinator for the HFD Explorer Program.  
The program, which is through the Boy Scouts of America, trains boys and girls between the ages of 14-20 in skills that will help them pursue a career in firefighting.
Members meet twice a month, train for four hours, and they also are allowed to work on shifts with the firefighters through a “ride-a-long” program. Their training is based of the national certification firefighter FF I curriculum, and they also are trained as publics educators and in CPR/first aid.
“The kids learn what it is to be a firefighter, but they understand that they can only be in the program if they keep their grades up (at least 2.0 GPA) and they stay out of trouble,” Hass said.
“Hass is doing a great job with the Explorer Program, and he becoming our first senior firefighter allows him to get to that first level in a supervisory capacity with the firefighters,” HFD Chief Lamar Cook said.
“If anyone is interested in becoming an Explorer, they can call the fire department (876-4142) and ask for me,” Hass said.
Sign up for our e-newsletters