DAVIE, Fla. (WSVN, Channel 7) — Taking a step beyond considering their future career options, a group of South Florida students got a hands-on opportunity to learn what it’s like to be a firefighter.
More than 300 teens and preteens stood on the sidelines and cheered on fire rescue cadets with the Broward Sheriff’s Office. “Firefighters have to be quick but steady,” said 13-year-old Trinette Bentley.
“I might sign up when I’m 14,” said student Katherine Delva, also 13.
Saturday’s action-packed day at the Fire Academy was hosted by the Sheriff’s Foundation of Broward County. “We have over 300 kids from HANDY, Hispanic Unity — their program, Unity for Teens — and Girl Scouts,” said Juan Arias of the Sheriff’s Foundation.
The event aimed to give area youth some excitement, education and a future career to consider in public safety. “It’s about serious behavior, serious work, but it’s done in an environment that shows the joy of the profession,” said BSO spokesperson Michael Cassano.
“All the props are here waiting for us. We may be changing a life or many lives,” said Arias.
The first-hand glimpse at what it takes to be a firefighter certainly impressed 11-year-old Lucia Palazzo. “It was really cool,” she said.
The students also got a chance to tour the specialized trucks, like one used by technical rescue teams, followed up by hazmat trucks down the road.
The students gave their time at the Fire Academy a big thumbs up. “There are a lot of people out here who are inspiring everyone,” said 14-year-old Rakale McCormick.
It certainly gave 11-year-old Morgan Lind much to think about. “It’s like a good learning experience where you see how it works,” she said.
The cadets, ages 14 to 21, took on some tough tasks as they train like real firefighters, even tackling a simulated structure fire as the young crowd watched in awe.
“The best part of it: Kids got to show kids,” said Fire Reserve and Cadet Coordinator Frank Corregio.
And it got some of them seriously considering their career path. “The younger people make you think, ‘Oh, wow, maybe I could do that one day,'” said Jaquelyn Andino.