The Liberator

LBJ fights the flames: all about Fire Academy

Alec Lippman, Staff Writer

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A program that allows students to get within feet of a 30-foot-tall propane fire along with leaving high school ready to get a job with a 45 thousand dollar salary are just some of the possibilities that can be achieved through LBJ Fire Academy.

LBJ Fire Academy is a double blocked course that takes up two consecutive periods every other day. It is open to students from Anderson, Austin, McCallum, LASA and LBJ high schools. LASA senior and this six weeks’ chief of staff Lucinda Pierce describes the general goal of LBJ Fire Academy.

“It’s a class that is really designed to give the students the tools they need the day after graduation,” Pierce said. “It gives you the tools to go ahead and start on a first responders position.”

The workload in this two-year program gives students five credits for high school along with certification for becoming firefighter or an emergency medical technician (EMT). LASA senior and recruitment chief Sarah McGee said Fire Academy is a hands-on learning experience.

“We do a lot of hands-on practice like running scenarios for the different topics,” McGee said.

Many of the skills required are learned about in a lecture format and then applied for the firefighting aspect of the program during junior year. Senior year includes lots of reading about the EMT content. Students are expected to be done reading before class so they can focus on the application of these skills during class.

LASA senior Paul Sherrill said Fire Academy can be quite a time commitment.

“It’s double blocked and two years long so it’s quite a commitment as far as classes go but I still have an off period,” Sherrill said. “Even if you take this class you can still have free time”

Another aspect of LBJ Fire Academy are the day-long skill days that they have roughly once every six weeks on Saturdays.

“We have a thing called Saturday skill days are almost once a month or every two months and that is whenever we go do more hand on application for stuff that we can’t do at school,” Pierce said. “One of my favorite Saturday skill days is vehicle extrication where we will go to a junkyard on South Congress the whole day we cut open cars and how you would cut up a car depending on where the patient is.”

The skill days provide students a chance to further apply their knowledge to real-world situations. These skill days let students do things that are very similar to what they would actually be doing in the firefighting profession or EMT profession.

Looking beyond the content and skills learned, McGee said the LBJ Fire Academy also gives students many skills that are applicable to all parts of life.

“I think that like even if I don’t go into this field it’s taught me like so many life skills,” McGee said. “I think that everyone could benefit from basic first aid outside of the emergency stuff and teamwork skills like focusing— just a lot of life skills.”

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LBJ fights the flames: all about Fire Academy