Throughout the month of March, KiBe GEAR UP students have been able to explore many different career paths. The most recent trip allowed students to explore becoming a student at Columbia Basin College (CBC) in the Fire Science or EMT program. After a tour of the CBC campus, students gathered in a room to learn about the CBC admissions process and types of financial aid offered. Josh, our student ambassador, was very informative and answered excellent and relevant questions KiBe students had. Students learned about many of the different types of jobs one can have on campus through work study and that there is no minimum GPA required to be accepted into the college. Josh informed the students about the huge difference in cost between a community college and a university as well why he liked the idea of going to a community college before transferring to a university—it is a nice stepping stone.
After our visit to the college, we traveled to the Benton County Fire Department District #2, which continues to be incredibly supportive of helping the students of KiBe determine their future paths. First, students sat in the department’s meeting room and learned about the basics of the job. Much to the contrary of the job title, the fire fighters admitted that these days about only 10% of their job involves fighting fires. The majority of their time is spent assisting on emergency calls and administering medical aid. Thus it is of utmost importance that someone getting into the profession be a certificated EMT. Then the 3 fire fighters’ shared their individual paths. Two things were heavily emphasized to the students: stay on a straight path and keep a clean record and the resident program is a great way to get your foot in the door in a very competitive field. The resident program at District #2 means that an eligible adult will be allowed to live at the station rent-free, receive a small monthly stipend, gain on the job training, and receive further education through the college at no expense to the resident.
The most exciting part of the day was exploring the station and vehicles. Students were shown the dorms the residents live in, the common area, and the vehicle garage. The fire fighters explained all the different equipment used and even allowed the students to put on their equipment. During the fire fighters’ 48 hour shift, when a call comes in, they are expected to get fully dressed in under 2 minutes. The students learned the motto of the fire department: two hands, two tools, not including yourself. It is expected that the fire fighters utilize all their strength to be as prepared for the call as possible. Students were even allowed to hop inside of the fire truck to feel what it’s like to be in that seat on a call and climbed into the back of the ambulance.
Perhaps the most important fun fact we learned: remember the next time you are talking to a fire fighter that there IS a difference between a fire truck and a fire engine. A truck has the large ladder on top of it, while an engine does not.