There are new faces at the Great Bend Fire Department, where four open positions were recently filled. The new firefighters are Elisabeth Mohler, Great Bend’s first female firefighter; Grant Peevyhouse, Preston Landers and Andrew Davis.
“We are excited to have these four individuals at the department. We look forward to getting them trained and ready to take their shifts,” Battalion Chief Eugene Perkins said. “These four firefighters will fill much-needed positions within the department.”
All four were hired in December. Before taking their active shifts, the new firefighters had to go through a three-week training course at the GBFD, which started at the end of January. The training consists of using their safety equipment, vehicle operation and training to assist Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics. All GBFD firefighters are EMTs. They will also receive training such as how to open a water line from a fire hydrant and use of ladders and other equipment.
“This training is very important for these new firefighters,” Perkins said. “They get training in school, but with our training we take it a step further to get them ready to take their shift within the department and get them use to using our equipment.”
Meet the new firefighters
Elisabeth Mohler grew up around Pratt and around firefighters all her life as her dad was a full-time firefighter. She has volunteered for three fire departments since she was 18 years old. She graduated from Hutchinson Community College with her fire science degree in December of 2017 and right after her graduation she was contacted by the GBFD and asked to come work here.
“It is a great honor to be the first female firefighter in Great Bend and to be chosen for this position,” Mohler said. “I hope I can do this position justice and pave a way for future female firefighters. I have been very welcomed by everyone here at the station. Everyone I met so far has been great in helping me out. Their experience level is amazing.”
Grant Peevyhouse comes from Haven where he graduated high school. He is a third-generation firefighter; his grandfather was a volunteer and his father was both a volunteer and full-time firefighter.
“At first I was going to go into an engineering program at school, but after getting involved with being a volunteer firefighter with my family, I fell in love with the career,” Peevyhouse said. “This fire department is awesome; the firefighters are outstanding and really know what they are doing. The training I am receiving is really helpful in continuing my education.”
Preston Landers grew up in Bonner Springs. He graduated from high school in May of 2017 and attended Butler Community College where he received his fire science degree.
“My dad was a firefighter and after hearing all the stories, it made me want to become one and this is where I fell in love with the career,” Landers said. “I really like it here. The guys seem to be really close and I hope to become part of that. From what I see they are very experienced.”
Andrew Davis comes from Salina, but grew up in Broken Arrow, Okla. He received his fire science degree from Hutchinson Community College and decided to become a firefighter for a rewarding career helping people.
“I really wanted to help people and have a fulfilling career,” Davis said. “This is what made me become a firefighter. I wanted to feel that I can make a difference and I believe I can do that here in Great Bend. These firefighters really are experienced in what they do and are very welcoming to the new people and very helpful.”