Orange celebrates firefighters who completed probationary period

Published 12:18 am Thursday, January 11, 2024

Orange Fire Chief John Bilbo doesn’t mind the idea of introducing the department’s newest team members to the community, but only under certain circumstances.

“The city manager and mayor have expressed interest in meeting our new hires for the Orange Fire Department,” he said this week during this week’s Orange City Council meeting.

“I don’t feel there is sense in bringing somebody down here that hasn’t made their year, because these guys are at-will employees for 12 months. They have to complete a rookie packet that is just full of information. They should know every street and hydrant by heart. They have to learn all of our equipment, all of our trucks.”

Bilbo wants his newest team members to earn their stripes, so when the moment comes, they are ready to represent the community.

That was the case Tuesday when Bilbo brought out Samantha Murphy, Ricardo Martinez and Sean Gray for a special professional moment.

“Needless to say, over the course of the last year, all three of these individuals have completed their rookie year,” Bilbo said.

“Currently, whenever we get a new hire, on their helmet that have the shield that has their names. Right now they are wearing a green on that says probationary. Today, since they made their year, we have their new shields with the names on it.”

The new shields are red and were presented to the firefighters to applause and celebration in front of the city council and meeting attendees.

Orange Mayor Larry Spears Jr. offered his congratulations and thanks to the city’s newest first responders.

“For those of you who do not understand how important it is to continue to bring in new firefighters and officers, not only do they save lives everyday, they also save money on your insurance,” Spears told the crowd.

“The quicker and faster that we respond, the better ISO rating our city has. We are currently at 2. It allows us to receive a lower rate.”