Courtney Reed uses his job as a training officer for the Vicksburg Fire Department to give back and inspire incoming firefighters and emergency medical service workers.
“When new guys come on the department, they have to do a two-week orientation,” Reed said, “and for that two weeks, I get to teach them the basics of firefighting and medical training. More importantly, I get to know them and get to give them advice.”
As the training officer, Reed has the job of conducting training for the entire department including fire, emergency medical service and fire paramedics. It is also his responsibility to stay up to date with certifications and send newcomers to the fire academy.
Reed has been a training officer with the department for two years but has been with the department for 12 years. He served as a firefighter paramedic before accepting the training officer job in 2018. Twelve years into his career, and he can still remember his first call like it happened just yesterday. Dispatch called in for need of the rescue unit, and Reed was asked to tag along even though he had little experience. The call involved a man who was losing a large amount of blood after an altercation.
“I had never seen anything like it,” Reed said. It was like a scene out of a horror movie, and I remember walking up and thinking to myself, and I almost said it out loud, ‘Man! Somebody needs to help this guy right now!’ Then I realized, ‘Oh wait, that’s me. I’m the one that needs to help this man.’”
He trains his firefighters and medical personnel to be fast, yet efficient.
“You think you know what you’re walking into until you walk into it,” Reed said. “Going into a burning building for the first time was nothing like I thought it would be. It’s frightening yet exhilarating at the same time. You learn real quick to go in, handle your business and get out safely or injuries can occur.”
Reed, 34 and married, is a Vicksburg resident and a graduate of Vicksburg High School. High school is where he got his start with the Vicksburg Fire Department.
“A guy I went to high school with got on the department, and he told a bunch of us that went to school together about the great benefits of joining the department,” Reed said.
Reed and eight of his classmates went through the hiring process together.
“It was great coming on with people I knew from high school,” Reed said. “A few of us played football or ran track with each other, so you already had that comradery of working together. We stayed on top of each other, too. We motivated one another throughout the whole experience.”
Reed does not only give back to his community and his department, he also gives back to the youth in the community, serving as a youth group leader at Trinity Temple Baptist Church. Along with his wife, he created I Can Fly Ministries.
“I’m a public servant, and in both jobs, I’m called to help people,” Reed said. “I get to train people to save lives at the fire department. And then as a minister, I listen to people and in a sense save lives in that job, too, by giving them someone to talk to and lean on.”