Some local kids will have a chance to train with FoCo firefighters this summer

Justine Lookenott

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Middle-schoolers can train with FoCo firefighters this summer at the Junior Fire Academy(Image by Forsyth County Government)

(Forsyth County, GA) Middle-school aged students can learn what it takes to be a firefighter this summer at the Forsyth County Fire Department.

The Junior Fire Academy is a free weeklong day camp program for students entering the seventh and eighth grades this fall.

“The Junior Fire Academy is something that the entire fire department looks forward to each year,” said Fire Chief Barry Head. “Along with getting to see what a week in the life of a firefighter is like, students will have the opportunity to learn lessons about teamwork, responsibility and general best safety practices.”

Fire Prevention Training Officer Erin Long said the program is a way to interest kids in looking at becoming a firefighter as a career and also an opportunity to just meet other kids in the county.

She said a typical day in the program would include a morning and afternoon session, usually doing some physical fitness activities in the morning and then exploring different firefighting topics in the afternoon. Kids will learn search and rescue tactics where they get to try on all the gear and hold the tools, go to the pool to learn water rescue techniques and do a ropes course at Sawnee Mountain Preserve.

“They'll do hoses and streams one day which is how the water comes through the trucks,” Long said. “They’ll get to hold the nozzles and spray water, advancing with the hoses, moving with the hoses, things like that.”

Firefighter training for teens and adults

Once these campers enter high school, Long said they hopefully will join their Explorer Program, which is similar to the Junior Fire Academy but is for high school students and is held throughout the year.

“They get a little more hands-on, more physical, they have competitions they can go to,” Long said. “...so we meet once a week and then they have competitions that they go to and retreats.”

Not to be left out, adults interested in a behind-the-scenes look at a fire station also have an opportunity with the Citizen’s Fire Academy. The academy meets once a week for 10 weeks and shows participants how the fire station operates. This year’s academy has already been held, but usually takes place in the first few months of every year.

While some participants have gone on to get careers in the fire station, Long said it is mostly a way for people to see how their tax dollars are spent and ask questions.

“It's really more for the citizens to see how the fire department operates and why we do what we do,” Long said. “Some people just think ‘oh you put out fires’ and there's just so much more than that.”

The Junior Fire Academy will be held June 6 through June 10 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Forsyth County Public Safety Complex. Applications must be completed by May 6 and can be found on the Fire Department Page on the Forsyth County website at forsythco.com.

For more information on these programs, call the Forsyth County Fire Department Public Education Division at 770-205-4688 or email Officer Erin Long at enlong@forsythco.com.

If you have a news tip in Forsyth County, contact Justine Lookenott at justine.lookenott@newsbreak.com.

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I cover local news in Forsyth County, GA. My debut into the writing world began at the age of 10 when I won an essay contest in Around Acworth Magazine in which I wrote about spending the summer with my pet goat, Eclair. Since graduating from Kennesaw State University, I have been published in several newspapers and magazines in the Atlanta area including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Atlanta School Guide, What Now Atlanta, Newcomer Magazine, the Marietta Daily Journal and the Cherokee Tribune.

Forsyth County, GA
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