‘Boost of experience’

Assistant Fire Chief Jason Brannan, Malik Deno, Chance Williams and Patrick Harris during the program’s morning class.

The Rainsville Fire Department is conducting its new fire science program in conjunction with the DeKalb County Technology Center.

The program, developed by the fire department and DeKalb County Board of Education this summer, allows high school students to receive public safety training before graduating high school.

The program is designed to be a two-year technical program that will result in Emergency Medical Responder certification when the student turns 18, and with the possibility of dual enrollment at Northeast Alabama Community College, Fire Chief Willimac Wright said.

“When they finish high school, if they finish both years, they’ll be certified volunteer firefighters,” Wright said at the Rainsville city council meeting Monday. “We actually found out today there is a potential of them completing a bridge school in Fort Payne next year. A bridge school will allow those that are certified volunteers to go to this class, and in five weeks they can come out with a certification as a career firefighter.”

Assistant Fire Chief Jason Brannan said in his 28 years as an emergency responder he has never seen the relationship between the fire department and the community that Rainsville has now.

“I’ve never seen the opportunities that the Alabama Fire College, career tech, and the relationship with cities and counties that have come about for public safety service and fire departments,” Brannan said.

They currently have 10 students enrolled in the program, but numerous students in the county have shown interest for next year, Brannan said.

“We’re a little nervous right now of how large this program will grow, because of all the interest in it,” Brannan said.

The class is focusing on telecommunication for the month of October, and the students will learn the communication role between dispatch and all the other agencies, law enforcement, fire and Emergency Medical Services, Brannan said.

“This is one of the only classes I look forward to every day,” Chance Williams, a senior at Plainview High School, said. “I wanted to do something different than what my whole family’s done.

So, I chose this.”

Patrick Harris, a junior at Sylvania High School said he joined the program to give him a boost in experience when he joins the military after high school.

“I started off in Health Science 1, because I’m planning on going into the military, and I needed something to help me when joining,” Harris said. “Health science wasn’t really my thing, so I switched the firefighting because it shows group activities and how to work as a team.”

Brannan said he his excited for what the program will bring in the future.

“With this program, I think the sky’s the limit,” Brannan said.

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