RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — The Rapid City Fire Department is hiring 12 new recruits to help with a staff shortage and high call volume.

These firefighters and EMT recruits are practicing real-life scenarios.

The training today is focused on Search and Rescue so that the new recruits can get familiar with their gear, which can way over 80 pounds.

“And sometimes it gets hot in your gear so the physical exhaustion just mixed with learning new things, it’s just a lot of mental. You have to know what you are doing but you also have to be able to physically do it as well,” Mary Lane, Firefighter/EMT recruit, said.

“I would say that’s the most important part of this training is getting the recruits in their gear. Getting them in their PPE, putting the mask on their face. Basically just wearing it, carrying it and searching with it on,” Lt. John Potter said.

Rapid City is responding to more calls than ever before, so the department saw a need for more firefighters.

“Everyone of Rapid City’s first-responders PD, Fire, Sheriff, we are all kind of feeling the weight of being a little understaffed and these 12 are going to be out on the floor in November and that’s going to help us quite a bit,” Potter said.

With a couple months left at the academy, these firefighter recruits are ready to be out in the field.

“I’m excited, I really like being in a learning scenario and I really like recruit academy but I’m excited to be done and be able to start on the floor and help out,” Lane said.

Graduation for the new Rapid City Fire recruits will be held in November.