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New fast track program to help fire fighter shortage in Baton Rouge

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BATON ROUGE- New firefighters were training earlier Wednesday, but these firefighters are not new. They are a part of the new fast track program. 

"They might have three of four years at the department  that they are at, but they are looking to go to a bigger department. So those are the ones we are looking at for the fast track program," Britt Hines, the assistant chief of training, said. 

Just like many places, the Baton Rouge Fire Department is short staffed by about 68 firefighters. The fire department is hopeful this program will get more firefighters to Baton Rouge.

The program will allow these firefighters to skip the academy and hit the streets in about two weeks. 

"Our rookie school is six months long, they have the certifications we are looking for and the job experience and we can put them to work a whole lot quicker than making them go back through rookie school," Hines said. 

Those six months could mean time away from other responsibilities some firefighters might not be able to afford. The fast track program will give these firefighters more flexibility. 

"In my case, I do a lot of part time work and I have a family, and I was able to get on this fast track program and will be through in a week or two back on the floor," Caleb Laviegn said. 

The fire department says this is a great opportunity to get more qualified firefighters into Baton Rouge. 

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