The Weatherford Fire Department delivered a retired fire truck to Weatherford High School’s Fire Orientation program Wednesday morning.
The Fire Orientation course is under the school’s Career and Technical Education program and the truck was donated by WFD for students to be able to use in the newly added program.
“[The trucks] get about 10 years on the front line and then we try to get a few more years out of them as a reserve unit,” WFD Chief Jonathan Peacock said. “Once it’s served its life as a reserve unit, then we put it out for auction and sell it, but we’d rather see it go to a program and do good in the community.”
The high school’s CTE program offers many “career clusters” for students to choose from including agriculture, food and natural resources; architecture and construction; arts, AV technology and communications; business management and administration; education and training; finance; government and public administration; law, public safety, corrections and security; manufacturing; marketing; science, technology, engineering and mathematics; and transportation, distribution and logistics. Now, the district has added the fire orientation program.
CTE Instructor Eric Hegre said the course is being tracked through the State Firefighters’ and Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas.
“That is the volunteer side and if they continue with this they can join up with a local volunteer department here in Parker County and continue their firefighter 1 and 2 certification,” he said. “Then at 18, they can actually take the SFFMA test and from there get their Texas Commission on Fire Protection so it’s from the volunteer side to the paid side. It’s a very cool program.”
The Weatherford Fire Department — along with other volunteer departments in Parker County — have teamed up to help get the program started at the high school, with the donated fire truck being a big part of the learning aspect.
“The truck gets some extended life being part of this training program and helps motivate the students by giving them a more hands-on experience to see what it’s really like,” Peacock said. “It’s just very nice for us to be able to help the community.”
Hegre said the students enrolled in the program — Mari Davis, Randy Nix, Dylen Gibson, Kailey Bottind, Billy Landeros and Andy Rocha — will use the truck to gain real-life skills using the various pieces of equipment.
“The real idea behind this program is to capture kids’ hearts and non-gender role education is something that we’re really pushing for in the CTE program,” Hegre said. “Kind of like the aspect of having guys in cosmetology, we’re getting girls doing firefighting and law enforcement, so trying to create that neutral base.”
Hegre said in their freshman year, students have taken CERT Community Emergency Response Training under Parker County Emergency Management Coordinator Sean Hughes and Emergency Management Officer Kit Marshall.
“I have to give all of this to the community leaders,” Hegre said. “I’m able to utilize their knowledge base and their toolset to train these kids.”
Hegre also gave big kudos to Kady Donaghey, who is in charge of the CTE program, as well as WHS Principal Brannon Kidd and WISD Superintendent Beau Rees for their support.