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Posted at 9:32 AM ET, 11/25/2010

Boy, 15, joins Md. fire cadet program

By The Frederick (Md.) News-Post

Austin Foertschbeck has always had an interest in fire and rescue services.

"I'm an active person that likes to help out in the community," he said. "Fire and rescue is the best of both worlds."

Foertschbeck, 15, was one of the first to sign up for Carroll Manor Fire Co.'s Cadet Program. He has been volunteering at the Adamstown fire station for little over a month.

The program is open to people ages 15 to 18 who are interested in being a member of the company. Once enrolled they learn about fire and EMS services.

"We didn't want to single it out to any one branch or the other," said Pam Gentel, coordinator of the program.

Once the program's bylaws and charter are passed, Gentel expects the cadets to start meeting within two weeks. There are five members already signed up.

"I'm looking forward to it," she said. "It will be pretty promising and our goal is for it to expand."

Gentel has been a volunteer with the company for six years and wanted to create a way for some of the older youth to get involved with the company. The station already has a respond group set up for elementary-age children, but nothing for teenagers.

Ultimately, the company would like to have three groups including the respond group, a junior cadet program for middle schoolers, and then the cadet program.

"We're trying to make it a well-rounded program," Gentel said.

In the beginning, students will learn CPR and take a hazmat training class. Then they will move on to EMS training methods, such as strapping a patient to a board.

"Every week we'll have a new training session," Gentel said.

She said the cadets will meet once a week for two to three hours, most likely on Friday nights. The program is open to anyone of age in the community. When cadets graduate they will become full-fledged members of the company.

"The kids need to learn that we all owe our community," she said. "It's a good moral thing. It's good to give back."

Foertschbeck is planning to attend the Career and Technology Center next year to study fire and rescue, then apply for a position with Frederick County Fire and Rescue.

"It's important to get the youth in there and involved," he said. "In the next couple of years, they're going to be the ones running the station."

By The Frederick (Md.) News-Post  | November 25, 2010; 9:32 AM ET
Categories:  Fires & Fire Safety, Maryland  
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