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Lubbock Fire Rescue hosts high school academy aiming to bolster recruitment

Updated: Apr. 28, 2021 at 4:31 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - After a successful first year, Lubbock Fire Rescue is hoping to bring in more area students and school districts into its high school fire academy.

“We wanted to not just tell you how to be a firefighter, but give you the opportunity,” LFR Captain Phillip Grandon said. “We want you to come to our program so you can be a firefighter.”

The academy is a collaboration with South Plains College, which has for many years hosted an evening academy for adults. This high school program has welcomed a total of 19 Lubbock Cooper ISD and Lubbock ISD seniors in its first year.

“The fire service, being a trade, it’s kind of having the same issues as the other trades where recruitment is down and interest is low,” Grandon said.

After completing the yearlong academy, the seniors earn a certificate with the Texas Commission on Fire Protection. Kolter Simmons, who attends Coronado High School, said the opportunity to attend the academy came at a perfect time when he decided to also take an EMT course.

“It would have been a lot longer process,” Simmons said. “I would have had to go through a lot more schooling, it would have taken a lot longer. This is basically a very fast route for us to be able to excel into our future career.”

Simmons told KCBD he decided firefighting would be his career choice. However, some of his fellow seniors hadn’t made that decision upon attending the academy but say being exposed to various aspects of firefighting has piqued their interest.

“I would say that even even if I don’t become a firefighter, I have learned the utmost respect for all of our civil services, who put their life on the line every day just to protect us and keep us safe,” Lubbock High School senior Ethan Maples said. “I have all of my respect to just the physical and mental capacity they have to train every day and protect us.”

For other students, it’s solidified their desire to help people.

“This has been most successful thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Coronado High School senior Cody Miller said. “I never knew what I wanted to do after high school and this just gave me everything I needed.”

Grandon said the academy will expand to Roosevelt ISD and Idalou ISD next year. He hopes other districts will join the program and that other Lubbock students will enroll.

“If you are a junior in any Lubbock ISD high school, please come out May 1 to Lubbock Fire Rescue’s training facility from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.,” Grandon said. “We have an open house to let you see the facility and get more information. If you have a student that is interested in this program, parents, please bring your student out so we can give them more information about how to join this program.”

LFR’s training facility is located at Fire Station 2, which is 1515 E. Ursuline Street.

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