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Waco ISD receives grant to fund firefighter program for students

Posted at 5:21 PM, Sep 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-18 22:27:58-05

WACO, Texas — Waco High School students will soon have the opportunity to train like a firefighter.

The district received a grant on Wednesday to kick-start Waco ISD's Future Heroes Academy.

“We are honored to present $10,000 to the Waco Firefighter's Academy, “ a local HEB representative said.

Waco ISD is preparing our young generation to become first responders. It all starts now, after HEB’s Tournament of Champions presented a grant to help begin the program.

“It's going to prepare the students to get into public safety, whether it’s law enforcement or fire service,” said Criminal Justice teacher in Waco ISD, Michael Baker.
The district is expanding their Future Heroes Academy. Right now, students are getting EMT training, but the district will soon begin their fire academy classes.

“They'll get to see the bunker, put on the gear, put on fire gloves, the hat, they’ll get to see the jaws of lie, and how to extricate someone from afar," Baker said.

They’ll start in-class by learning disaster response, and more advanced training will happen at the McLennan Community College's firefighter academy.

“There are several fire departments that can hire people right off the street, but we don’t have that here in Waco," said the Waco Fire Department's Chief, Gregory Summers.

"All of our students have to go to a community college to get their certification."

Chief Summers says this home-grown program is an advantage for their department.

“We compete with other departments to get these certified pathfinders, being that we’ve got this program right here in Waco," Chief Summers said.

"We can bring those kids right into the Waco Fire Department."

Chief Summers says he's hoping this program will get students excited about their future, and will help fill those firefighter positions in Waco.

“Sometimes they seem a little overwhelmed, like 'Oh my god — there's a tornado and we’ve got to go out and do this everyday,' but this course prepares them for that," Baker said.

After the students graduate, they’ll be able to take their civil service exam, which is the last step before they can put on their uniform.