Future Vt. firefighters start training early - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Future Vt. firefighters start training early

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BARRE, Vt. -

Wednesday became a day to envision the life of a firefighter. And for 44 cadets between the ages of 14 and 17, the hope is to learn some skills in taking action and getting the job done.

"I'd like to see them all as firemen. That's important, we need to reinvest in the volunteer part of our communities," Barre City Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Aldsworth said.

Aldsworth says each year the Vermont State Firefighters Association Fire Cadet Academy hosts up to 48 kids for a weeklong crash course in emergency services. He says the number of volunteer firefighters is dwindling. But his hope is for these youngsters to come back to serve once they're 18.

"Our lives have changed, family unit structure has changed, people are working one to two jobs over time. And basically they've drifted away from the service end of it," Aldsworth said.

"Somebody needs to do it and the people who are in the service are very special, they have all my respect. It's a great thing," said Elizabeth Glen, the cadet captain.

Glen is now helping to teach what she learned at 14.

"I love helping people even if I don't know them. Just help whoever is in need of it," she said.

Cadets are learning how to handle auto extrication, patient care and, new this year, basic water rescue skills.

The water training portion of this program was planned months in advance. However, due to recent drownings across the region, officials hope these students will learn skills not only for their careers, but for their safety.

"We feel that especially now it will resonate with the youth saying listen the water's not safe, but if you happen to get in we're going to give you some skills to save yourself or possibly save a life," Aldsworth said.

The Fire Academy says they want to expand their program to more students and find more opportunities to create new experiences for them.

Thursday, cadets will experience more water rescue training but in cold water. The academy costs each cadet an entry fee of $325. The program ends Saturday.

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