High School Fire Academy

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA--"This is an occupation that it takes a certain type of individual to be a part of it and there are certain people that are geared towards this kind of career."  Those are the words of Odessa College Fire Academy Coordinator, David Parker.

These cadets range from from sixteen to eighteen.   When they're done,  they will be among the youngest in their field, and the best part is, they'll be able to go to work, right out of high school.

Parker explains, "It's an opportunity for any high school sophomore to apply for the fire academy and go to the academy their junior and senior year, upon which they will graduate as a basic certified fire fighter and also an emergency medical technician."

Training them here, at an early age, could prove beneficial for the Odessa Fire Department.

"We're hoping that this will be a pool that we can draw from with our department here in Odessa," Parker says.

Cadets can earn dual credit while they train.   They get 4 high school credits, and 34 credit hours to Odessa College.

16 year old Chyanne and 18 year old Koko are cousins.  Two of three girls who signed up for the class. And they're out to prove, this isn't just a man's world.

Chyanne says, "I like to help people.  I always have.  It's exciting.  It's something you never see a girl doing, anyways."

And according to Koko, "We're helping people in a completely different way.  I didn't think a woman could really do this but, we sure as heck can."

Neither of them have any question about what they intend to do with their future.

Chief Parker says that having these young cadets enrolled is a good thing, for everyone, "This is a young persons career field.  Really, you do better at this job being younger than you do after you start getting up a little older, because it just gets a little demanding and a little difficult for an older person."

Chyanne and Koko have a bit of advice for any other girls who might be unsure about becoming a firefighter, "They can definetly do it. It's very challenging. If we can do it, anyone can, definitely."