You’ll see a lot of teenagers around the Town of Beloit Fire Department this week. They’re attending the annual Town of Beloit Fire Department Academy. High Schoolers spend four days learning what being a firefighter is all about.
Casey Bellard, a Town of Beloit Firefighter/Paramedic say, ” It’s a good age group for them to participate and kind of learn the job, see what we do and get their hands on some of our equipment.”
Wednesday was “Smoke Day”. Beloit firefighters simulated a house fire to show how smoke can obstruct your view. Communication, especially vocal, is critical.
Bellard says, “Absolutely, yes, communication is huge in this line of work. We’re always working as a team, so to accomplish our task we definitely communicate to get our point across.”
There are plenty of ‘Rookies’ at the Academy, but also some ‘Veterans’ returning because of what they learned at last year’s Academy.
Esther Glenn, a High School Sophomore says, “They make it look so easy, and when you’re actually in the suit and the gear it gets hot. It makes you appreciate it more, all the work they do for us.”
For Ian Fields it’s an especially personal experience. His house caught fire when he was only nine years old. That memory left him with a special respect for what firefighters do.
Ian Fields, a 2018 High School Graduate says, “If they didn’t have the training to put out a fire, they wouldn’t have been able to put it out and I would have lost everything in my house.”
It’s easy to see why today’s Academy students could be tomorrow’s firefighters.
Bellard says, “These are potentially kids that we might see some day applying for our department, so I think it’s a great program to have the kids participate in.”
The Academy continues Thursday with the focus being on Emergency Medical Services. It concludes Friday with a visit some local law enforcement representatives.