New Firefighting Option for Area High Schools

New Firefighting Option for Area High Schools

Goal is to introduce program to teens and recruit volunteer firefighters

| By: Daley-Hinkens, Carmelyn M

Fox Valley Technical College has received a state grant that will fund a high school program for students interested in volunteering or starting a career in fire protection.

A $15,405 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) will allow FVTC to offer a Firefighting Principals course to students at seven area high schools. The four-credit course will teach fire behavior and fire control techniques. It will meet all requirements of Firefighter I certification in Wisconsin.

“It’s an opportunity for interested high school students to take a look at this as a career, or a way to help out their local communities if it’s something they thought of, but never had the opportunity to try out,” explains Fire Protection department chair Jim Austad. “Now they have the opportunity to try it out.”

Winneconne-Poygan Fire Department has already participated in the program twice, drawing students from  Winneconne, Omro and Neenah. What is different about the program going forward is all training will now be done at the Public Safety Training Center.

“Recruiting is a challenge for a small community and then there is the retention piece of it,” says Chief Ryan Krings.  “We thought if we could run this program in the school system, we could show them what it would look like to have a career in fire service. Our goal was to recruit one to two students each year into the volunteer side of it. We have two members from our first class who are still in the department as volunteers.”   

FVTC is one of four programs to receive part of a $75,000 Youth Volunteer Firefighter Training Program grant from DSPS. The state agency issues more than 240 unique licenses, enforces state building codes and works with industries around the state to promote safety and advance the economy.

In the news:

WBAY-TV: FVTC receives grant to train high school students in firefighting

WLUK-TV: Fox Valley Tech wins $15K grant to fund firefighting course for area high school students