OKEECHOBEE — Okeechobee City Fire Department firefighters made the day for some local homeschool students when they attended a homeschool meeting and spent time with the kids talking about fire safety. On Friday, Jan. 22, Lt. Crum and firefighters Brydebell and Gratton spent some time showing the Cornerstone Christian Home Educators’ students the fire truck and giving out goodie bags.
The older students learned what classes they would need to take if they wanted to pursue firefighting as a career and learned how the jaws of life are used. Younger students were given the assignment to go home and find a safe place to meet the rest of the family in case of fire.
The students were fascinated to hear stories about fires the department has fought and were especially surprised to hear they fought a blaze at a feed store for two full days.
Firefighters asked if any of the kids thought they might like to become firefighters, and one of the boys raised his hand. They explained that doing well in school was the most important thing to concentrate on. After graduation, the first step is to become an EMT which takes three months and then go to fire academy for 12 weeks. They said this is very difficult, because you learn so much in such a short time, and if you fail one portion of the test, you are on probation. If you fail two, you are out. It is also expensive, they said. Renting a suit costs about $1,000 and the classes cost about $7,000 at IRSC (Indian River State College).
These were just a few of the many things the firefighters shared with the children, and everyone had a great time.