High School Fire Academy first of its kind in Charlotte - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

High School Fire Academy first of its kind in Charlotte

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Nine juniors and seniors at Providence High School are blazing a trail in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. They're the first to take fire service training in high school in Charlotte.

"What they're going to get here is an opportunity to build a foundation for the future in fire service" said Captain Kelvin Brim, the program's instructor. "Whether it be fire fighting, fire prevention, fire investigation  -we're just trying to provide the kids with an opportunity to learn about the different facets of fire service."

The students take fire classes everyday - in the classroom and practical exercises.

Captain Brim said the curriculum builds a foundation of knowledge, skills, and abilities they're going to be able to use once they become fire fighters.

The program is right up Jeremy McIver's alley.

"When I was a little kid I saw firefighters go by. I just thought it was the coolest thing" said McIver. "There's been nothing else I ever wanted to do besides being a firefighter because that's one of those jobs a lot of people don't really get. All they see is like a person jumps in a suit and goes fight fires but we do a lot more than that."

A senior, McIver thought he would have to wait until after college to get firefighter training.

"I was very excited. It was the first class on my list that I wanted. I never thought they would offer a course like this at my high school" said McIver. "I always thought it would be after college, after I applied to a fire department and gotten to recruit school that I would be learning this."

McIver said he's learning a lot "from basic orientation of fire service to all the exercises they perform when at live emergency scene such as forcible entry, how to properly don all this gear, soon we'll be learning how to set up an extension ladder, and how to perform vehicle extrication."

According to city officials, "as part of the Public Safety Curriculum, the Firefighter Technology Program was developed by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction based on North Carolina Fire and Rescue Commission Firefighter Certification Standards.

Captain Brim says the students are getting the bulk of their training now, and are working towards certification.

"As long as they're open to it. They're willing to do the exercises. They take part in some of the physical activities that are required of them" Captain Brim said.

Tests scores and grades are passed on to state officials, and they check off each requirement a student completes.

There are certain exercises such as fire suppression in a burning structure that the students aren't old enough to do yet. They'll tackle that if, and when, they get to recruit school.

But are high school juniors and seniors too young to learn and process fire service training?

"Some people may think that they're too young. But I say not" said Captain Brim. "They're able to retain a lot of information. This is just an opportunity to see if you're going to be able to do something like this, if you want to do something else."

City officials said the program "provides a more potentially qualified applicant pool for the fire service."

CMS is hoping to expand the program in 2015 to include other CMS schools.

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