New Orleans Firefighters Younger Than Ever

NEW ORLEANS --

The faces of the New Orleans Fire Department are younger today than ever before. In fact, many firefighters who hold leadership positions have less than five years of experience.

NOFD Superintendent Charles Parent said the department changed after Hurricane Katrina, when the majority of the experienced force retired or left the city and never came back.

Here are the current numbers: 46 of 173 fire captains, 40 of 123 fire operators, and 13 of 30 district chiefs have less than five years of experience.

To bridge the gap of inexperience, NOFD is training its recruits heavily. Their plan is to expose younger fire fighters to dangerous situations in a controlled environment.

New recruits are learning risk-benefit analysis tactics. New technologies have also been ordered, including a command van with a 360-degree view of a fire so firefighters can see a blaze from every angle.

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