NEWBERRY — Richard “RJ” Julio Doran, 27, is a new firefighter with the City of Newberry Fire Department, he joined the department in August of 2017. Doran began his path to a fire service career when he became a volunteer at the Bush River Fire Department in 2009.
“I became very interested in it and moved down here, I began volunteering eight years ago, and I’m still a volunteer there,” Doran said. “I decided to volunteer because my mom was a secretary for the Bush River Fire Department, and really just being around it my interest grew, and what really got me started in it, and what was always neat to me, was being able to go help people when they are having their worst day.”
After being hired, Doran went off to the South Carolina Fire Academy. He said it was a good experience and he had a little bit of a benefit going in.
“I had a couple of classes prior, from the Bush River Fire Department. Going back and really coming on as a full time guy, I think that was definitely a great refresher for me. Made me feel more comfortable with what I was doing,” he said.
A normal day at the Academy begins at 5:30 a.m. with a wake up call. Doran said at that time you are going to clean the station and get yourself ready for the day.
“Then the captain of the day will assign you a time to be in formation outside the firehouse, whether it’s 6:30 a.m. or 6:45 a.m., then from there you will raise the flags and you will march to breakfast,” he said.
Breakfast starts at 7 a.m., and by 7:25 a.m. they would march to the PT (physical training) grounds. For about an hour to an hour and a half they had PT.
“You’ll either go to the classroom for half a day and then that afternoon you’ll get in the field the rest of the day. Some days you get full class, and then the next two days you’ll be in the field on your feet working and doing different stuff,” Doran said.
After graduating from the Academy, Doran came out with Fire I and II, Hazmat Awareness and Operations (state level), Hazmat Awareness (national level), flag training, Auto Extraction, Rescue and the Rescuer. He also received basic life support and basic first aid training.
“It’s really neat, seems crazy when you are there. It’s paramilitary, which was another good experience I think. Really, you kinda dread going, but when it’s over you are glad you went,” Doran said. “You hate going into it, dread it while you are there, but the end result is huge.”
As a volunteer, Doran received training in most of what he learned at the Academy, but said the refresher was good for him.
“I took the courses in 2009-10, coming on as a volunteer you do not really work those skills, then when that is your job every day it is great to go back and put your hands on it again because now it is your job,” Doran said.
Now that he is a full time firefighter, Doran says he is happy to work in the community he grew up in.
“In this job it takes a lot of pride, how do you grow up in a town you were born and raised and not have the pride to work for those people in that town,” he said.
Doran is a graduate of Laurens Academy, where he graduated in 2009. His parents are Christina Senn and Rick Doran, his father owns Bush River Jerseys, a dairy farm, where RJ Doran worked for a bit. He is engaged to Candace Adair.
“I would like to congratulate RJ on graduating from the South Carolina Fire Academy. This is an eight week long process that teaches them more than just basic firefighting. He was with a group of other recruits from all over the state and they train alongside each other. Whether career or volunteer, they do the same task,” said Chief Keith Minick. “We at the City of Newberry wish him a successful career with us and look forward to the talents he brings every day. He is no stranger to us, RJ has volunteered with the City Fire Department and the County Fire Service.“
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.