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Future Firefighters Get Early Start in Arlington

New AISD program allows students to train for firefighting future

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Some high school students still haven't figured out their career path, but a dozen students in the Arlington ISD are already hard at work preparing for their futures as firefighters. (Published Monday, Mar 5, 2012)

    While many high school students are just beginning to think about their career paths, some Arlington juniors and seniors are training hard for theirs.

    They're learning to be firefighters through a new program offered by the Arlington Independent School District, the Arlington Fire Department and Tarrant County Community College.

    Arlington Students Prepare for a Future as Firefighters

    [DFW] Arlington Students Prepare for a Future as Firefighters
    Some high school students still haven't figured out their career path, but a dozen students in the Arlington ISD are already hard at work preparing for their futures as firefighters. (Published Monday, Mar 5, 2012)

    "We want the kids to graduate out of this program with a skill set that can put them in the business world or the working world and provide them with training and skills for when they leave high school," Assistant Fire Chief David Carroll said.

    The two-year program is more than just a classroom lecture. Students get the real firefighter experience -- everything from gloves and hard hats to the physical training of working with hoses, ladders and fires.

    Upon completion of the program, students are ready for state certification in EMT and fire protection, which could mean a job right out of high school.

    "It's definitely a leg up, because they're getting this training through the school system," Carroll said. "Anybody else who wants to do [this training] would have to pay for it, and it's several thousand dollars to get these skills and this training."

    Students are trained by Arlington firefighters.

    "It's really interesting," said Luke Burgdorf, the class captain. "They teach us a lot of hands-on, some stuff that's not really in the book, stuff that you can't really write down."

    There are also two student lieutenants, each responsible for a squad of students. In the process, the students learn how a fire department operates.

    While not every student may ultimately choose a career in fire services, they said the skills they're learning can be used for more than putting out fires.

    "I'm learning some good life skills, some morals," Burgdorf said. "I'm learning some good life safety stuff and how to be a better person."

    "That's what we're trying to teach them in this class," Carroll said. "It's not just firefighting skills, but also how to be productive citizens."