Yaste fills need to serve public as county firefighter

Published 10:09 am Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Many firefighters start as volunteers in their home communities, or knew someone who worked as a firefighter.

Lucas Yaste took a different path to the fire service and joined the Clark County Fire Department in March with no previous experience.

“This is my first firefighting job,” he said. “It was a total career change.”

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Yaste has a degree in criminal justice and wanted a career where he could serve the public. He spent six years in the Kentucky Army National Guard in a construction engineering unit, including one deployment in Afghanistan. After he left the service, he worked at Toyota while his wife finished her degree, he said.

The itch to serve the public, though, never left.

“I needed a job that continued from my military service,” he said. “I considered going into law enforcement. I figured out later the firefighter job description more suited my personality than law enforcement.”

In March, the Paris resident officially joined the fire department. Since then, there has been a steep learning curve. Yaste has already earned his certification, which required 400 hours of training.

The curve has been a little steeper than at larger departments, he said. With Clark County’s size and staff, Yaste has gained a lot of hands-on experience working with the other firefighters.

“With a smaller department, there are more opportunities to get in and do things, to get my hands dirty and experience them,” he said. “I’ve had to come to a lot of expectations to perform the job seamlessly with the experienced firefighters. You expect to come in, do your pre-entry and work up to it.”

Yaste said he loved learning on the job immediately rather than in a classroom. It also plays into his experience in the military, learning to act quickly in stressful situations.

Getting to help people, he said, is the reason he’s there.

“When we go out on these calls and we try to make a difference and help people on the worst day of their life … It’s very rewarding,” he said.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@bluegrassnewsmedia.com or call 859-759-0051.

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