Monday, July 7, 2008

Becoming a firefighter

Nice article today from the Austin American-Statesman about Austin Fire Department outreach to high school students.
For students interested in becoming a firefighter, check out this page at the AFD website.
The Fire Department also has a training program at LBJ High School that may be expanded to other schools.

From the Austin American-Statesman:

Austin Firefighters help teach teens
by Tony Plohetski
Monday, July 07, 2008

The children and teens huddled around firefighter Randall Larsen outside the Austin Fire Department training academy, watching and listening as he demonstrated nearly every piece of equipment he uses on the job.
He told them how he and other firefighters connect water hoses, and how they wear special suits to help protect them in burning buildings. Larsen also explained how the force of the water can reach the top of downtown high-rises.
"It's pretty cool," said Ray Gomez, a 15-year-old Travis High School student. "There are a lot of things to learn, like the equipment and everything they have to put on."
But this was no routine demonstration.
The group, made up of about 20 students ranging from sixth-graders to high school seniors, were part of Camp Fire USA's Teens in Action program, in which children from low-income families learn about their community and design projects to meet certain civic needs.
The kids spent the day last month learning how the Fire Department responds to certain emergencies and preparing to create a project using that information, said Cori Stennett, a Camp Fire USA program director.
The students probably are going to design emergency preparedness kits for those who might not be able to afford items such as battery-operated radios, first aid kits and nonperishable food, Stennett said.
This is the first year Camp Fire USA has asked the department to help in its projects. The department is conducting another session this month for another group of students.
Dawn Clopton, an acting assistant chief for the department, said that when Camp Fire USA officials asked for their help this year, department officials saw an opportunity to spread the message of fire prevention and to deliver a pitch to older students about firefighting careers.
"We want to be good and responsible members of the community, and there was no reason to say no," Clopton said.
During their day with the firefighters, the students toured the city's communication center, where 911 operators take emergency calls, and listened to reasons why they might want to become Austin firefighters.
They also learned about the importance of being ready for emergencies.
"It's been really interesting," said Jalal Goggins, a 14-year-old student at Austin High School. "We need to all know this stuff for actual emergencies and how we can help ourselves and other people."

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