Sparking an interest


Junior Fire Academy participants handle a fire hose (above), train on the Alabama Fire College driver simulation program (top right) and in the mobile burn unit (bottom right).

Junior Fire Academy participants handle a fire hose (above), train on the Alabama Fire College driver simulation program (top right) and in the mobile burn unit (bottom right).

Junior Fire Academy, held this year at Southeastern School, has come to an end, but the knowledge students gained from the experience will follow them for a lifetime. Numerous instructors, who selflessly gave of their time, taught 33 students the “ins and outs” of fire service and how it is a very rewarding career.

This year’s participants completed drills utilizing the Alabama Fire College’s mobile drill tower, driver simulation program, and mobile burn unit. The goal of the hands-on training is to positively affect the student’s future thought processes and behaviors when presented with similar real life situations.

Declaring the camp a success, coordinator Jonathan Ledbetter thanked everyone who donated, organized, taught, or participated in the camp. He emphasized that without the sacrifices of the instructors, many of whom took their own vacation time to help, camp would not have been possible.

Several people also donated supplies and money to support the three-day event. Ledbetter again stressed that the camp is able to offer so much because of the support, donations, and hard work of others.

Volunteer fire departments across the nation are struggling to find volunteers, and Blount County is no exception. There is a critical need for volunteers across the county, and the hope is that this camp will spark an interest in the youth and inspire them to volunteer with the fire department in their community.

Because there is so much to offer through camp, it will be extended to four days next year. Ledbetter wants students to learn that the fire service profession is a very rewarding career and has tons to offer, all while working in “one of the greatest jobs on earth.”