Member Completes Franklin County Junior Firefighter Academy
By Board of Director Matt Hills Jr.
July 21, 2018

Congratulations to Junior Member Connor Hills on completing the week long Franklin County Junior Firefighter Academy held this past week at the Franklin County Public Safety Center located in Chambersburg, PA.

27 junior firefighters from throughout the state began the Academy last Sunday afternoon and concluded today with a 10am graduation ceremony held at the Marion Volunteer Fire Company. The 27 junior firefighters were split into 5 different companies.

Sunday evening the cadets designed their class flag and setup their sleeping quarters (lights out by 11pm).

Each morning wakeup call was 6am and started with daily physical training followed by breakfast. Monday morning following breakfast the cadets reviewed PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and SCBA’s (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus). The afternoon covered First Aid and CPR with all of the cadets receiving their certifications. Later in the day the cadets toured The Franklin County Department of Emergency Services Communications Center. Cadets enjoyed a steak dinner at Franklin County Station 4 and talked with Franklin Assistant Chief Jason Kuehler about the significant line of duty injuries he suffered 7 years ago.

Tuesday the cadets spent the morning in the classroom discussing engine company operations. Practical exercises were held in the afternoon which included pulling hose lines, tying knots, identifying tools, donning and removing PPE and SCBA. Throughout the day and days to follow cadets answered several “fire calls” which challenged their skills, teamwork, communications and safety. After training was completed the cadets had a water battle. The evening was spent at New Franklin Fire Company where cadets enjoyed dinner and participated in a Sheep’s & Shepard’s Team Building Activity. Cadets played dodgeball before lights out.

Wednesday morning the cadets learned truck company operations. Cadets spent the afternoon stretching lines, throwing ladders and search and rescue exercises. Cadets marched to the training center for dinner with their visiting families. After dinner a combat challenge was held.

Thursday morning was spent in the classroom learning the way fire maneuvers in different ventilation techniques. After lunch the cadets completed various skills stations including ladders and search and rescue. The cadets spent the evening visiting Buchanan Valley Fire Department where they enjoyed dinner, conversation and viewed a vehicle rescue extrication. The cadets finished the evening bowling at Nellie Fox followed by a “campfire.”

Friday the cadets toured the National Fire Academy located in Emmitsburg, Maryland. NFA Tour Guide Merril Sollenberger provided the tour which included observing a live burn at the ATF burn range and viewing the Fallen Firefighters Memorial. The cadets also visited the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Museum. The cadets spent the evening at Waynesboro Fire Department where they enjoyed a catered dinner by Savoy and received a tour. The cadets concluded the evening setting up and practicing for today’s graduation.

Today’s graduation ceremony included remarks from Retired Deputy Chief Tom Murray from the Harrisburg Bureau of Fire, a video presentation and a reading of the Firefighter’s Prayer.

Congratulations and great job to all of today’s graduates. Thank you to the 40 instructors and guest speakers during the week all of whom not only volunteered their time all week but also months in advance in the planning of the Academy week. For more information on this great week long Academy check out Franklin County Jr. Fire Academy and Franklin County Public Safety Training Center on Facebook. Some of the photos are courtesy of Franklin County Jr. Fire Academy.