In January 2010 I saw a sign when entering my neighborhood that was from the local fire department. The sign was asking for volunteers. Just like any boy growing up I had always loved firefighters. So I decided to check out the URL they had posted on the sign.
I found an interesting event that they put on every year for the past few years called Citizens Fire Academy. This was right up my alley. I was a citizen of Jersey Village and I had some interest in what the “firefighters” were all about. I remember thinking, who are these firefighters? What do they do when they are not fighting fires? What is fighting a fire anyway, spraying water?
Citizens fire academy lasted about 3 months, every Thursday night and two Saturdays. This turned out to be one of the most interesting things I have done in the past few years. I learned more about the fire service than I even knew existed. I was certified by the red cross in CPR and First Aid by the second class. The fire science classes were the deal sealer for me. I was fascinated. I’ll admit I was quite the firebug as a kid. I made my own fireworks and firecrackers. I realized in one of the fire science classes that I still had the fascination of fire in me. What had changed was that I was getting the proper education in a safe and controlled (as much as possible , it is fire) environment. The instructor performed live fire experiments and demonstrations, that simply proved what was myth and what was fact.
About a month into the Citizens fire academy, a ~400 hour cadet class started. Joining the fire service as a volunteer and completing the training would turn me into a real firefighter, albeit a newbie. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I started in late January, “First Responder” training with Cy-Fair. First Responder is the medical portion of training that is required by Cy-Fair. After finishing this section of the training, I felt more comfortable knowing the information. Skills like back boarding, c-spine stabilization, splinting, CPR, and recognizing common medical issues are important and were well taught. During this time I was still attending Citizens fire academy, absorbing as much knowledge as I could.
Over the next 5 months I endured and survived some of the most fun, exciting, and difficult training I have been through. The best summary, “15 minutes of work fully packed up is equal to 2 hours of cardio”. I heard a Houston firefighter say that, I won’t even fact check it because I was ready to collapse after 27 minutes of work fully packed up. I actually got to do this during consumption test which was to find out how long we last on a 30 minute air bottle. We did so many things like ladders, hoses, live burns, ventilation, air duct mazes, ropes, tools, and SCBA to name a few.
We were quickly broken up into teams and my team was like fire family. Jim, Brendon, Eric, and myself made up Team 5. We looked out for each other, checking gear, repeating instructions, you name it. This was very important because quite honestly our lives depended on it. The fire didn’t care that we were just cadets.
We all survived the training and graduated in June. I’ve uploaded all of the photos and videos that were taken throughout our training here. Cadet Class 42 Firefighter Gallery
Here are a few to get you started….