Junior Fire Program Gives Kids a Hands-On Firefighting Experience

Kids strapped on their fire gear for a hands-on experience during the Rockwall Junior Fire Academy July 15-19.
Kids strapped on their fire gear for a hands-on experience during the Rockwall Junior Fire Academy July 15-19. Photo by Leslie Perez, Rockwall Fire Marshal Division Coordinator.

(ROCKWALL, TX — July 30, 2019) The Rockwall Fire Department welcomed kids to beat the heat this summer with its inaugural Junior Fire Academy program. Held at Fire Station #3 at 191 E. Quail Run Rd., the week-long class saw kids learn the ins and outs of the fire department.

“We just tried to train them and teach them about everything we as firefighters do,” said Rockwall Fire Marshal’s Division Captain Kevin Clark. “We also gave them an introduction on all the special gear we wear, and the differences between the types of equipment and trucks we have such as the ladder truck, the fire engine and the brush truck.”

Practicing with the fire hose at the Rockwall Junior Fire Academy.Going up the ladder truck at the Rockwall Junior Fire Academy.On the first day, fire station staff led the class through a variety of fun exercises focusing on fire operations. The kids donned their fire gear and manned a fire hose, and rode up and down the ladder truck. On day two, they explored the inside of an ambulance and learned all about Emergency Medical Services, such as how and why stretchers are used. Day three saw the group go through a demonstration in extracting someone from a crashed vehicle using various fire equipment.

Then on the fourth day, the kiddos learned search-and-rescue procedures for locating someone caught in a burning building. They wore blindfolds as they crawled alongside a wall, to simulate the low visibility caused by smoke in a burning structure. The exercise taught them how firefighters safely move through a burning building to rescue those trapped inside.

To conclude the program, the junior firefighters joined their parents for a graduation ceremony and a pizza party.

Clark said the fire department wanted to provide this program as a way for younger-aged kids to explore what being a firefighter is all about.

“We realized that there’s nothing out there like this for kids in smaller age groups,” Clark said. “We wanted to reach out to kids in the community and give them something fun to do during the summer. With this program, we hoped to give them some hands-on knowledge about what we do as a fire department.”

According to Clark, the department also has plans to launch an Explorers program for young adults this fall. The program will allow them to explore a career as a firefighter.

Story and photos by Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News.

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