Interested in Becoming a First Responder?
Since 2002, Summer Youth Fire Academy has given hundreds of area teens a glimpse into the life of a first responder.
By learning what firefighters and paramedics do, they get an idea whether a career in the field might be a good fit.
Students and graduating high school seniors, ages 14-18, may apply for the 2018 Summer Youth Fire Academy. Participation is free. A Fire Rescue panel will select about 30 teens for the Academy. Applications must be submitted no later than April 30.
"It was the greatest experience I ever had," says Jason Fabrizi, a cadet at last summer's Academy. After graduating from East Bay High School this year, he plans to earn EMT certification at Hillsborough Community College. Eventually, he hopes to become a firefighter/paramedic.
"I've always wanted to be a firefighter," says Jason, 18. Attending the Academy bolstered that interest. "It definitely will make you want or not want to do this job."
Jason was encouraged by his father, Army Sgt. 1st Class Jason J. Fabrizi, who died in an enemy ambush in Konar province, Afghanistan, in July 2009. "He always told me to pursue my dreams," Jason says.
Summer Youth Fire Academy assured Jason he was on the right path. "You really learn to respect the people who do this," Jason says. "It's tough."
Instruction is both hands-on and in the classroom.
"This is a real-life glimpse at the exciting life of a Fire Rescue member," says Chief Dennis Jones of Hillsborough County Fire Rescue. "The hands-on experience, combined with teamwork, discipline, and leadership are important life lessons that we trust will be carried with our cadets throughout their lives."
During the two-week Academy, cadets learn, among other things:
- History of fire service
- CPR and first aid
- Fire behavior
- Ropes and knots
- Fire ground operations
- Use of firefighting bunker gear
- Water safety
Photo: Sheila Artola and Hashim Dahmash train during the 2017 Youth Fire Academy.