Illinois Fire Service Institute Receives Grant For Training School

URBANA, Ill. (CBS) — The Illinois Fire Service Institute’s hands-on training school for teens and young adults has received a state grant.

WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports the school and its statewide one-day youth training events will receive $65,000.

The fire academy is important because there is often a high turnover in firefighters.

“You come in at 18 and you want to do it for a few years, but by the time you’re 22 or 23 you have a family, you’ve got lots of obligations and responsibilities,” Richard Jaehne, director of the Illinois Fire Service Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said of young firefighters. “So we end up replacing a lot of people, up to 20-25 percent each year.”

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports

The Explorer-Cadet “Hands-On Training School” the institute runs for 15- to 21-year-olds is about more than simply firefighting.

Jaehne also said he often tells aspiring firefighters is to “continue your education, become a paramedic because the services that are demanded by the community now are probably 80% emergency medical percent and 20% fire.”

The call of duty for firefighters has changed over time. Jaehne said, “The fire curve has changed so dramatically with the introduction of Class B or oil-based furniture and light weight construction and so on

Jaehne said the school is also about instilling citizenship and the value of public service and public safety.

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