The Great Falls Fire Rescue team have become used to working with other stations in neighboring towns, but this week they are getting to work with a few young fire fighters from not just outside Montana, or even the United States for that matter. These rookie firefighters hail from Sweden. "Sounds like it might be their last year every year these guy at the end of their school year come out here and kind of get an opportunity and experience a little bit of the us fire fighting experience and they see how that compares to what they do at home." says Fire Rescue Captain Max Bailey.
The program is called the "DOCTUS Fire Rescue Exchange". It involves 37 student firefighters from Sweden training with some of our local fire rescue crews to get a taste of fire fighting, American style. "we expose them to all the basic elements of fire fighting, this particular program it simulates working on the fire ground, putting on the gear and doing all the normal fire ground activities," explained Bailey. The biggest obstacle for these students isn't language, but the difference in fire fighting tools. "The biggest changes we see is the tools that they use are different than ours their couplings are threaded different, so they got a few little barriers they have to try to over come but they are quick learners," says Bailey.
For these 18 year old students getting a chance to learn how American fire fighters train is quite an experience. "I have always wanted to have a job with people and I think this was a school to go on and it's a very fun thing to do to go to America and practice on the fire fighting," Says Tove Gahiulf. "It's amazing it's awesome it really is a life experience," adds Albins Persson. These foreign exchange students will continue training tomorrow focusing on the handling of hazardous materials.