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.