ROCHESTER, Minn- Saturday is often a day where kids to take their minds off school. Saturday high school students are spending the day in a special, hands-on firefighter class.
16-year-old Tyler Carpenter has always wanted to be a firefighter. He says growing up he used to play with fire truck and just knew it was his calling.
"I like to protect people so iid like to do a form of service whether it be like military or firefighter," Carpenter said.
So when he heard about this new class that would allow him to step into the shoes of a firefighter, he was immediately on board.
The high school program is a mix of online and hands-on courses that were designed by the Rochester Fire Department in collaboration with area public schools. The experience students get is what they need to gain the Minnesota state certifications in firefighter 1, firefighter 2, and hazardous materials operations, which are often required to test for a career as a firefighter.
Captain Caleb Feine is the brainchild behind the program says the goal is to give students the chance to explore a career in firefighting. He says training has changed a lot since he first started.
"This profession, in general, is always changing so we are trying to keep up with science,” Feine said. “Keeping up with the latest trend that is out there and its always evolving so we are just trying to stay on top of things as firefighters so we can do the best that we can for the citizen.”
Part of Saturday’s classwork included being timed putting on gear and fitting through tight spaces.
"One of the coolest things we did today was crawling under a fire truck,” Carpenter said. “It was difficult but also fun because you had to learn how to how to get through without getting stuck."