High school program helps train future firefighters

CINCINNATI — In times of crisis, first responders are called upon to help. But due to the pandemic, some departments are facing staffing issues. Some schools in the state offer ways to help close the gap.


What do you want to know

  • Students at Cincinnati’s Western Hills High School learn what it’s like to be a firefighter
  • On Wednesday, students participated in protests with the local fire department
  • Working a garden hose, using an ax and handling a chainsaw are just some of the activities
  • This is all part of a high school firefighter course that, upon completion of the course, gives students the training necessary to apply for an emergency medical technician license.

Students at Western Hills High School gain real-world experience as firefighters through a school-based public safety course.

Chelsea Bynum, 16, is a firefighter student at Western Hills High School and said she always wanted to be a firefighter. Last summer, she even participated in the fire cadet program.

“I love helping people,” Bynum said. “I like the idea of ​​being a firefighter.”

Putting out a fire is just one of the things students learn in the course.

Bynum is one of 20 students in the class and one of the few girls. According to the latest data from the National Fire Protection Association, 8% of firefighters are women.

“It shows me how strong I can be,” she said. “I can do anything boys can do.”

On Wednesday, Bynum and the others participated in a protest with local firefighters. Students learned to work and climb ladders, work a pipe, use a chainsaw and more.

But more importantly, Bynum said he learned the importance of teamwork.

“Teamwork is the best thing to do,” she said. “You can’t go anywhere in the fire department without your family.”

By the end of the course, students will have completed sufficient training to apply for an Emergency Medical Technician license. Bynum said once she graduates next year, she looks forward to pursuing a career in the field.

“I’ve met a lot of firefighters and from what we’ve learned over the summer and through this program at my school, I just think it’s a really good job,” she said. declared.