FOLEY – The city of Foley recognized two firefighters Tuesday after the first responders completed a rigorous state training program.

David Snyder and Lee Taylor received the Director’s Award during the City Council meeting. The two men completed the Alabama Fire College smoke diver training course in 2023.

Foley Public Safety Director David Wilson said fewer than 1% of state firefighters have completed the intense 60-hour training program.

“This achievement is worthy and the recipient is most deserving of the directors award,” Wilson said.

Robert Rowland, Gulf Shores Fire Department chief of operations, worked with Foley on the program. He said many firefighters begin preparing for the course a year in advance, long before they know if their application will be approved. He said that in the five-day course, firefighters have to learn to deal with challenging conditions that are beyond ordinary situations.

“What this class is best for is preparing you for when that call isn’t routine. It pushes you to where you probably didn’t know you could go,” Rowland said. “David and Lee did a tremendous job representing the Foley Fire Department, city of Foley.”

Fire Chief Joey Darby said Foley has set a high priority on training and preparation for its personnel.

“The effort that our guys go through to make sure that they train and equip themselves mentally and physically. I appreciate what they do and what we’re able to do to equip them to do that,” Darby said.

He said the City Council and Foley officials have supported efforts to improve training.

“Last year, we had a major increase in our training budget and that is already paying dividends with a lot of classes, so I appreciate the support in doing that,” Darby said. “We’re continuing that in this budget year and that’s something we’re going to continue for years to come to focus on equipping these folks mentally and physically, so thank you for that.”

The smoke diver training course is designed to help firefighters sharpen their existing skills and learn new techniques through realistic training. 

The Alabama Fire College’s course includes multiple aspects of firefighting. Students participate in physically and mentally taxing exercises in multiple environments. Each day begins with a fitness event, which is followed by drills, field evolutions and scenarios that include heat, smoke and live fire training.

Most of the course takes place on the drill field in full protective gear. Each student must understand firefighter survival and rapid intervention crew techniques before starting the course.