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Local firefighter becomes first Georgia Smoke Diver in state

By Emma Delk, The Intelligencer

WHEELING, W.Va. — Wheeling Fire Department member Brittany Hoffman has joined an elite group in her profession by completing a rigorous advanced firefighter training course.

The 30-year-old is the 13th female out of 1,202 participants who have completed the Georgia Smoke Diver course, a six-day simulation of the toughest aspects of being a firefighter.

The course challenges one’s ability to withstand 60 hours of stressful, often life-or-death situations, replicated in training drills. Participants practice structural fire search and rescue operations, victim removal situations and ladder company operations.

Hoffman’s training class began with 43 participants, but the mental and physical rigor of the course thinned the pack to only 15 leaving the program as certified Georgia Smoke Divers.

For Hoffman, the program’s difficulty was an aspect she expected and welcomed, as she decided to apply to the program “to challenge herself.” She added that earning the Georgia Smoke Diver qualification had always been something she strived for.

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