Nine San Jose firefighters to graduate

SAN JOSE, Calif.

The firefighters completed the San Jose Fire Department's eight-week training academy, a refresher course for seasoned firefighters.

Recruits attending the Lateral Firefighter Academy trained in various aspects of fire and emergency protocol including medical services, search and rescue drills, and firefighter survivor drills, fire Capt. Mary Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez said the firefighters were hired thanks to a two-year, $15 million federal grant that the fire department received in 2010. In August, the department used the grant to hire 22 of 49 previously laid-off firefighters.

Gutierrez said the department is anticipating hiring an additional 18 firefighters in February.

"Our hope is we'll be able to retain all 49 of them," she said.

Fire Chief William McDonald will hand the graduates their department badges and helmet. Mayor Chuck Reed and councilmembers will also be in attendance.

The firefighters are expected to begin work on Sunday.

The ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. today at the fire department training center, located at 255 S. Montgomery St.

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