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The City Of Gadsden Receives Grant to Assist Fire Departments in Training Future Firefighters

Taniesa L. Sullivan | The Weekly Ledger News | Area News

GADSDEN, Ala. - The City of Gadsden is training future firefighters. The department was awarded new funding from two organizations to help purchase interactive boards for training.

Students living in Etowah County wanting to become firefighters will now have the latest equipment to teach them all about fire safety. The City of Gadsden received a grant from the Resource Conservation and Development Council for close to $12,000. The fire department saw a need for virtual training boards to enhance their training experience.

“With the boards being interactive, it’s kind of a giant tablet and so what that does is we can slow down the processes of fire behavior and the fire dynamic and actually show the breakdown and the science behind fire and the way it reacts,” said Division Chief Trainer Eric Estes.

Focusing on the future, the city of Gadsden has re-prioritized its high school career-technical education program at the new fire training and prevention center for students in Etowah County who want a career in public safety.

The course is called Emergency and Fire Management Services and it’s taught at the Gadsden Fire Department Training Center. They get to come off campus from their high school and go to the real-life professional learning center for the fire department, and they learn everything from fire safety, fire management, and then they also learn some of the emergency management side too,” said Chief of Staff Brett Johnson.

A great recruitment tool, students who complete this course are granted a volunteer firefighter certification to serve in their community. After high school graduation, they can complete a five-week bridge course to become a professional firefighter.

“It opens them up and introduces them to the EMS component. You got EMT positions available of course; Gadsden got a newly revamped ambulance service that needs EMT’s and our fire department, we hire you as a firefighter but we want you to become a paramedic,” said Johnson.

The fire department was able to purchase three interactive boards for the training center. Chief Estes says this program is nothing short of an internship that could lead to a rewarding profession. (WBRC)

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