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Firefighter training program graduates 5 seniors in first year

9 months 3 weeks 3 hours ago Friday, May 12 2023 May 12, 2023 May 12, 2023 10:34 PM May 12, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - In Livingston Parish, five seniors are finishing up their training in hopes of becoming future firefighters.

“My truck caught on fire and a firefighter came over to my house and that was really the only experience I had with the fire department. I looked into it and saw the program, decided to try it out and it worked out for me,” a student Kainnon Champagne said.

This is the first year of the training program. Keesler Fly, the Chief of Training and Safety for Fire District Four said the idea came about initially as a way to find more firefighters.

"We just had the idea of reaching out to the younger community and providing them a pathway to get started in fire service in high school. Once we determined that we could do it on the school side and fire department side we hit the ground running and here we are,” Chief of Training & Safety at Livingston Parish Fire District Four Keesler Fly said.

State Fire Marshal Dan Wallis says the industry needs more firefighters and programs like this can help solve that problem.

"It's a problem nationally, but locally as well in the state of Louisiana at the volunteer and career level it's becoming more and more challenging to recruit and retain firefighters," State Fire Marshall Dan Wallis said.

Students in the program learn the skills of the trade, with hands-on experience and guidance from professional firefighters in hopes of becoming one themselves.

"They’re taught the same curriculum, tested to the same standard so it’s very similar to a recruit academy and we try to mirror that as much as possible," Fly said.

The program proved to be so successful that the Louisiana Workforce Commission approved it to be made available for schools and fire departments across the state.

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