Cheshire Career Center to launch firefighter course for teens next fall
KEENE — Firefighting certification opportunities for teens are spreading across the state.
Next fall the Keene High School-based Cheshire Career Center plans to launch its first firefighter course to teens.
Along with Keene High School, Cheshire Career Center serves students from Fall Mountain Regional High School in Langdon and Monadnock Regional High School in Swanzey.
It started in 2010 when Dover High School started a course that offered certification in Firefighter 1, said Cheshire Career Center Director Jim Logan Wednesday. The Firefighter 1 certification is a nationally recognized certification that qualifies the teens to become volunteer firefighters. Students who complete the course will have certificates for wildland firefighting, CPR and professional rescuing.
Logan learned about the course at a state-wide career center meeting two years ago and was inspired to bring the course and certification to Keene.
Logan has been working closely with Meredith Lund, a captain with the N.H. Fire Academy and Keene High Chemistry teacher Graham Gitchell, who has been a volunteer firefighter with the Westmoreland Fire Department for the past 10 years, to craft the curriculum of the program that is one of many cropping up around the state.
It is expected that there will be six programs across the state up and running by the end of next year.
Cheshire Center students would attend an 80-minute block five days a week throughout the school year at the career center in Keene and take about three or four days out of the school year for field trips to the fire academy, Logan said.
Logan said he would like to get the Keene Fire Department involved with the students’ training on some level.
Logan said the plan is to also create an EMT course. Interested students would be encouraged to take the firefighting course in their junior year and the EMT course in their senior year of high school.
Students who complete both would be two-thirds of the way through the training required to qualify as a full-time firefighter.