Monday, May 20, 2024

Fire science program at Cascade High School ignites passions and career paths


The Fire Science program is a collaboration with the Chelan Fire Department and Cascade High School. The program includes two classes only offered to juniors and seniors and prepares them for potential careers in firefighting. Fire Fighting I teaches students to take care of equipment, the science behind fires, and basic safety instruction. When students complete the class, they receive a Firefighter I certificate. In addition to the certificate, if they pass with a “B” or better, they earn ten college credits towards Wenatchee Valley College. Wildland/Forest Fire Fighting is the other class, and it teaches cadets how to control fires and prevent them. After students complete this course, they receive a Red Card/Firefighter II certificate. If they pass with a “B” or better, they earn four credits towards Wenatchee Valley College as well.

Students who are interested in joining Fire Science must put in an application in the spring before the year they wish to be enrolled in the course. This is because they have to order their special cadet sweatshirts. They turn in applications, and then the instructors from the fire department look over the forms. The fire department then checks the students' grades and attendance records to decide who will be the ten candidates for the next step in the process, the interviews. If the interview goes well, the students will be accepted into the Fire Science program. “Everyone at the fire station is really nice. They really love to include the cadets. [Students should] do it [their] junior year, so [they] can do it [their] senior year too,” said Jaxon Groby (11). Only ten students going into grades 11 and 12 are accepted into Fire Science each semester.

Every day, cadets head to the Chelan Fire Department to start their fourth-period class. On a typical day in Fire Science, the cadets take notes during a PowerPoint, put their gear on, and head out. Sometimes, the instructors are “timing us on like how fast we can get our gear on,” said Maverick Miller (12). The lessons in Fire Science are different every day. The cadets never know what to expect that day or who will be teaching them. “I like the instructors and like how there’s a wide variety of them and how we don’t know who's going to be teaching us that day,” said Teyva Dillon (11).

On account of the program being taught by real firefighters, students who are planning to become a firefighter receive the training and knowledge a rookie firefighter would receive, meaning that students can stay with the force after high school and dive headfirst into the force. “I can become a volunteer or a resident at the station after my senior year. I think [Fire Science] would help, especially with Wild Land. [I can] get a job right out of high school,” said Jaxon Groby.

Teagan Sauer (12) is one of two girls enrolled in the program. “My dad was [with] the fire department, and he served mainly as a volunteer, and so, I wanted to join because that’s my passion is to know I can save someone’s life and know that you never leave someone behind, you never leave family behind,” expressed Sauer. The Fire Science program prepares high school students for what they should expect when starting their firefighting career. Sauer suggested that students should “know that it’s going to be hard work. This is not going to be just an easy class that [a student can] take just to take.”

Even if students don’t want to become a firefighter after their high school career, Fire Science can prepare them for other job opportunities. “I would say, even if you’re not going into that field as your career, you still learn a lot of important stuff like almost anything,” said Trail Heyl (11). Students learn the value of teamwork and dedication during the span of the course. They can use these traits in any job, no matter the tasks.


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