Elementary school students graduate from
MCC partnership fire academy

 All school year, a handful of students at Howard Kennedy Elementary School have been learning about the importance of fire safety. On Wednesday afternoon, they graduated.
The Junior Fire Cadet program, a partnership with the school, Metropolitan Community College and the Omaha Fire Department, gives students the opportunity to learn important fire safety information and leadership skills.
The class met every Tuesday from 4:30-5:30 p.m. starting at the beginning of the school year. MCC’s Fire Science program director, Jeff Strawn said the students have taken the class very seriously.
“We have a structured curriculum that works through problem-solving, team building,” Strawn said. “They learn ropes and knots, how to put on fire gear. Most importantly, they become an advocate for fire safety. We teach them different things that firefighters themselves do like extinguishing a fire.”
The students even got to see firefighters and a fire truck from OFD in person.
“We bring the fire apparatus and firetruck down to show the kids, they talk about the tools, see firefighter in bunker gear,” Strawn said. “They go crazy.”
Strawn said students make a real commitment during the class and are required to attend each one.
“We had a really good group of kids,” he said. “We stress the importance of being committed to the program. These kids are just as committed as we are.”
The partnership program has been a good one for MCC and OFD, Straw emphasized. It gives students the opportunity to consider firefighting and have people in the field to look up to.
“They know someone from MCC or OFD will be there as a role model to give then some life skills not just if they pursue a career fire safety,” he said. “We’re trying to make some positive impacts.”