Kettering leases fire station to schools

Retired Fire Station 32 will be used for firefighter training for career tech students.

A pact between the city of Kettering and the Kettering schools will allow high school students to take firefighter training courses, while building a potential pool of applicants.

“It helps the school district start a new program. It helps the city provide for a future demand for firefighters,” Kettering City Manager Mark Schwieterman said.

The city agreed Tuesday to lease Fire Station 32 at 250 W. Dorothy Lane, to Kettering City Schools for three years, with the goal of launching the program next fall. The firefighter training program, offered through Fairmont Career Tech Center, will also be available to Washington Twp. and Oakwood students, as the districts have a career technical center agreement.

“We’re hoping programs like this and additional recruiting efforts that we’re going through will bring more folks into the city of Kettering’s fire department as part-time firefighters, but also create an interest in the high school and give high school students the opportunity to receive training while still in high school,” Schwieterman said.

With this new edition to the Career Tech Center, there may be additional partnerships as Kettering evaluates other opportunities for students, according to Ken Lackey, director of business services for Kettering schools.

“They are evaluating some other programs which would be further down the road. It takes some time to get these programs up and running,” said Lackey.

The first step was getting a gauge of student interest in the program.

“We conducted a survey with students and what we got back was a very strong response that there would be interest in the program,” Lackey said. “They’re expecting next year to get a lot of interest in the program based on survey results they did earlier.”

The program will help with the region’s part-time firefighter shortage according to Schwieterman.

“When we first approached the school system about this type of program, it was really in regards to how do we get high school students interested in a career in firefighting. Certainly we’d like to see them take an interest in firefighting in the city of Kettering,” Schwieterman said.

The firefighter program, scheduled to begin August 2017, will be a two-year program, offered to junior and senior-level students. The first year of operation will be strictly juniors. The second year will see the program as fully functional, with both grade levels. Once the students graduate, they’ll be able to take part-time firefighter jobs and attendschools like Sinclair Community College to earn an EMT license.

“Our intent is that eventually, through the program and through whatever else additional training is required,” they will earn their certification and return to the local fire departments, Schwieterman said.

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