Students fighting fire and getting certified in the process?
The Explorer program is a partnership between the Bluffton Fire department, and the Beaufort County School District for high school students to learn the ins and outs of the fire service.
“We’ve learned a lot of stuff, we’ve gone through Hazmat, we just recently went to Parris Island. We did a live burn over there, and it was a pretty exciting experience because not everyone my age gets to go into a burning building,” said Zabdi Baltazar.
Over the course of two years, students are taught in school as well as at the department about these skills, they even get to go out on calls with the firefighters. At the end of the training, if they pass all of their tests, they can be certified firefighters, and get jobs right out of school!
“All my friends are going to college and they’re like ‘oh I’m going to go to school for a couple years,’ and its like well I’m going to have a job, getting paid, and doing what I love. There’s definitely going to be schooling in my future. I’m going to EMT school on June 13th, and any other certifications I need. Of course they’re going to send me to the fire academy, but if all goes well I’ll be on shift by next year,” says student, Tyler Griffin.
Which fire officials say is a bonus for them, getting qualified employees to stay and work in our area.
“They can protect and work in the community that they grew up in, and who doesn’t want to give back to a community that’s given to you. And that’s going to help our numbers out, we can recruit them young and get them interested in the fire service, and build our numbers up,” said Captain Randy Hunter.
For more on the Explorer program just call the Bluffton Township Fire District at (843) 757-2800