Throughout this week firefighters from Meridian, Enterprise and Louisville are undergoing intensive training at the Meridian/Lauderdale County Training Facility.
This 45-hour instructor's class is the first step in the path for them to becoming an officer.
'Actually, moving up the ranks to fire captain within the Meridian Fire Department is the first competitive promotion that exists,' says MFD Training Chief, Ricky Leister.
In recent years, Leister says at least part of the reason that the Meridian Fire Department has sponsored this training is to cut costs.
Because money is tight for most agencies right now, he says offering these classes in Meridian is more cost effective. In fact, firefighters who go to the Mississippi Fire Academy to receive this type training have to pay at least $200 more.
As for people interested in becoming a firefighter, the next round of physical and written testing for the Meridian Fire Department will be held October 19th and 20th. Although that's still two months away, officials say now is the time to prepare.
"Firefighting is extremely strenuous,' says Leister. 'In adverse conditions it gets really hot and really cold. Of course when you go in a burning building with that air pack and stuff on, it's definitely not ideal conditions to be working in.'
Currently the Meridian Fire Department has 107 firefighters. Anyone interested in joining the ranks may pick up an application package at the Civil Service Office at City Hall. The deadline to to return them is September 28th at noon.