Congratulations to the graduates of the Tri-County Fire Corps Exploring Program
The First Responders Foundation congratulates the students who graduated from the Tri-County Fire Corps Exploring Program on Sunday, November 17th.
The Tri-County Fire Corps Exploring Program is a cooperative effort of the greater Omaha area fire departments, Metro Community College and the First Responders Foundation, in a public-private partnership. This program provides a unique opportunity for 16-19 year old youth to learn the skills necessary for a career in firefighting.
Students were trained in many areas including CPR/AED, fire extinguishers, ropes and knots, hose rolls, search and rescue, ladders, HAZMAT awareness, and ventilation. The young people received approximately 40 hours of training spread over ten weekend mornings. The classes were taught by firefighters from local fire departments and used fire department training facilities and equipment.
This valuable program not only encourages students to consider careers in firefighting or volunteer service with local fire departments, but also increases community awareness of fire safety and first aid, and builds the students’ confidence and leadership skills. The program also provides a pathway to post-secondary studies, such as the Fire Science Technology courses at Metro Community College.
The program concluded with a graduation ceremony where each student received two certificates, one for CPR, and one for Stop The Bleed. The graduation ceremony took place at the Bennington Fire and Rescue.
Tim McCaw, Assistant Chief of the Omaha Fire Department spoke at the graduation and said, pun intended, “I hope this program lit a fire under the cadets for a career in fire.” He expressed gratitude to the parents who supported and transported the cadets each week to all the stations. McCaw said, “Graduation from this program demonstrates their perseverance to complete the course. This is a great way to prepare themselves for their future.”
The cadets from all over the metro area thoroughly enjoyed the program and were appreciative of the experience.
Hannah Scofield lives in Omaha and says the program is helping her decide her future. “This program provides a way to get a foot in the door to determine if this is what I want to do. I do not have any family members involved with the fire services. I’ve always wanted to help people and I do not want to have a desk job, so this is a good fit.”
Grant Martens from Arlington said the program was interesting and was a first step into the fire service. He wants to follow in his dad’s footsteps. His dad is an Assistant Chief for the Arlington Fire and Rescue. Grant said, “It was interesting to see how the different sizes of departments function and to learn the history of their departments.”
Tyler Weidaman resides in Bennington and has family in fire services. Tyler’s favorite part of the program was the live fire. He also enjoyed getting to know people from each fire station.
The program held its inaugural session in the spring of 2018. The Tri-County Fire Corps receives shared funding through the Tri-County Citizens Corps Program and a grant from the Department of Homeland Security. These funds helped underwrite some of the student costs and program administration for 3 years, concluding in 2020 The First Responders Foundation helps cover the cost for registration , CPR certification, program training materials and administration, and the graduation event. The First Responders Foundation is proud to be a part of this progressive program.
The next class will begin in March 2020 with registration beginning after the first of the year. For more information and photos visit the Tri County Fire Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TriCountyFireNE/
To watch a short video from the graduation on KETV with comments made by Omaha Fire Department Battalion Chief Scott Fitzpatrick visit:
The following agencies participate in the program:
Bennington Rural Fire District, Gretna Volunteer Fire Department, The LaVista Volunteer Firefighters Association, Omaha Fire Department, Papillion Fire Department, Ralston Volunteer Fire Department, Springfield Volunteer Fire Department, Yutan Volunteer Fire Department, Irvington Fire Department, Sarpy County Emergency Management Agency, Tri-County Homeland Security Working Group, Village of Boys Town Fire Department, Metropolitan Community College Fire Science Program, Omaha Professional Fire Fighters Association – IAFF Local 385.