Junior Firefighters Learn Skills at Franklin County Academy

Published 07/22 2014 06:37PM

Updated 07/22 2014 10:10PM

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -  The 9th annual Franklin County Fire Chief’s Association Junior Firefighter Academy kicked off this week.

Dozens of 14 to 17-year-old cadets who are already involved with their local fire stations came to Chambersburg for the week long training opportunity.

"We reach out to companies of Franklin County, Adams County, Cumberland County,” Academy Administrator Jason Strite said. “We have a cadet as far away as Carbon County, Pennsylvania."

Enrolled teens get hands-on experience, learning essential skills from veteran firefighters who volunteer their time to teach at the academy.

"Search and rescue, tying knots, incident command structure, accountability,” Strite said.

For junior firefighter Bobby Johns, 17, the academy is something he would not miss out on. This year is his fourth time attending, and he says he learns something new every year.

"My blood's always pumping there's always something to be excited for in firefighting,” Johns said. “It's definitely fun and I learn a lot."

While learning practical skills is a priority, the academy also stresses the value of responsibility and teamwork.

"By Saturday when they graduate, they're one family, so to speak. Just like the fire service is a family away from home,” Strite said.

"When you are here and stay the night here, you are a family and this is your firehouse,” junior firefighter A’Laura Courtney said.

During their time at the academy, the junior firefighters also get to take field trips to places like the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial.

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