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Beloit College students hired by local fire department

Last semester, The Round Table ran an article about a group of college students enrolled in a firefighter recruit academy with the South Beloit Fire Department, just a five-minute car ride away from the college.

As of April 3, after six months of classes, practical and written tests, and participating in drills, six college students have been hired onto the fire department as paid-on-call staff. While they have made it onto the department, their journey is not yet over. On April 30, they will take the Illinois State Fire Exam to be certified by the state. Then there will be a host of other smaller certifications that they will need to acquire, such as Hazardous Materials Training, Motor Pump Operation, Swift and Ice Water Rescue, and Motor Vehicle Extrication. All the other certifications require more homework and tests, but it is information that can be applied across the nation.

While some of the students are interested in joining the fire service as a career after attending Beloit College, other members of the recruit class just got involved with the South Beloit Fire Department as a cool, fun and different side job. In either case, all six recruits emphasize several points which they admire about the work and why interests them. The fire department is a fantastic way to give back to the community that helped train them and supports them in their personal and professional lives. It provides insight into how local government agencies work independently as well as with one another. The fire department also discusses the opportunities to learn skills that are difficult to obtain at the college. Working with the fire department allows students to see how their studies directly apply to their job, which is not always the case in other fields taught here at the college. There is also the desire to fulfill a childhood dream of gearing up and riding in a really big red truck with lights and sirens.

In order to fill positions that will be left vacant by graduating seniors, individuals transferring out of the area, or just-open positions in the department, we are looking for more people to join next semester’s recruit class. If you have any interest in public safety, firefighting or emergency medicine, the newly hired students will be tabling on Chapin Quad from 1-3 p.m. on Spring Day, April 19, in order to recruit for next year’s class.

They will have a couple of different activities, such as looking at tools, donning and doffing races, and maybe even a game of giant jenga with extrication tools. They will be able to answer any questions about how the academy schedule works with a student’s schedule or anything else of that sort. On Saturday, April 22, we will also be burning down our training house, while fulfilling a couple of practical requirements as well. Feel free to contact myself, Alex Leininger’18, Duncan McFadden’18, Alex Knapp’18, Nico Hamacher’20 or Eben Crawford’19 about any questions regarding next semester’s academy or anything else regarding the program.

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