By UFA Fire Training Division Chief Wade Watkins
I experienced something special that I really wish I would have had the opportunity in my youth to participate in. Recently, I was assigned to the Unified Fire Authority’s Fire Training Division. This has given me the opportunity to view the first responder community through a different lens. As our team focuses on the training and development of new firefighters.
Through this new assignment, I had the awesome experience of participating in some training with the Jordan Academy for Technology and Careers (JATC). The JATC has a fire science program with this mission: “Prepares individuals to perform the duties of a firefighter. Instruction includes training in safety, firefighting, equipment operation, maintenance, and the principles of fire science. This high school based firefighter development course is derived from Utah State Fire Fighter Standards, NFPA, IFSAC, current Unified Fire Authority standards and the experience of an instructor cadre from multiple jurisdictions.” (Source: jordantech.org, 2020)
Observing our next generation of firefighters prepare to do the job, really reminded me of why I pursued this career in the first place. I could clearly see dedication and discipline growing at an incredible pace in the classroom and fire ground. Working together and relying on the performance of the “TEAM” is the only path to success in this type of environment. Capturing and understanding what was taking place through my worldview was an incredible experience for me.
The students started the day off with an intense group workout. This workout is designed to replicate the “Work Cycle” on a real-world incident. Following the workout, the focus in the classroom is learning the science and dynamics of fighting fire safely with the key being able to observe live fire. This immersion into firefighting culture provides the students with an opportunity to understand and learn firsthand.
I have created a short video at bit.ly/jatc-fire that I hope has captured some of the experience. If you or someone you know has interest, please visit JATC’s website at jordantech.org or unifiedfire.org/becoming-a-firefighter.