Knox County high school students train to become firefighters

Knox County high school students train to become firefighters

Posted:
The students involved in the academy are doing all the same training as a real firefighter. The only difference is they are not practicing with live fire. The students involved in the academy are doing all the same training as a real firefighter. The only difference is they are not practicing with live fire.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Students at South-Doyle High School now have the opportunity to become firefighters.

The Fire Cadet Academy was started this school year. It is the first time high school students have been recruited to become firefighters in the nation.

The academy recruited seven seniors in its pilot program at the high school.

"I wanted to be part of it because it's something new," said senior James Hurst. "I had never heard of it before, plus I want to be a fireman."

"The reason I'm taking it is it's the career I want to be a firefighter," said senior Chandler King.

The idea for the academy came from the Rural/Metro Fire Department, which was looking for new ways to recruit new firefighters.

"They learn to put on their gear, wear air packs, throw ladders, pull hoses," said academy instructor Brian Woods. "We simulate rescues. Everything we do in the academy."

Woods, a lieutenant with Rural/Metro, became a certified teacher to run the academy.

It is free for students who want to participate.

The students involved in the academy are doing all the same training as a real firefighter. The only difference is they are not practicing with live fire.

That is something they will do once they graduate from high school.

After graduation, these students will have a jump start on getting hired full-time. They will only have to finish a few more training sessions before becoming full-time firefighters.

For many, the academy has been much more demanding than they first thought.

"I thought it was going to be easy," said King. "It's pretty hard, actually."

Woods said he has been amazed at the student's attitudes.

"Thrilled," said Woods. "I hope all seven of these guys decide to continue on with us and become really good firefighters."

Rural/Metro officials said they plan to continue the academy next year and they're hoping more students will want to participate.

Any student in the Knox County school system is eligible to participate.

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