BRTC program to tackle firefighter shortage

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 6:09 PM CDT
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WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. (KAIT) - Black River Technical College is hoping to get would-be firefighters on the field as the nation battles a firefighter shortage.

The college’s Fire Training Facility allows students to train in real-life scenarios.

Different outdoor facilities offer training in firefighting, plane crashes, medical calls, and more. They also include fire trucks and turn-out gear, giving students a hands-on approach.

Fire Science Program Director Alan Haskins wants to ensure they solve the current shortage.

“The shortage is people just not wanting to do this career like they used to. We’ve relied on volunteers for so long people don’t want to volunteer to do this anymore. What we’re seeing is these departments have to hire more and more,” he said.

Haskins explained going through the program gives graduates a leg up on the competition for a job.

“Once the fire departments hire, they can go in and apply for those jobs and have a leg up on the competition of folks that might be applying for the same job that doesn’t have the certifications, and they can go to work faster,” he said. “It’s a plus for the fire departments because they don’t have to worry about sending this person to school to get trained. They’ve already got it from us.”

If you’re interested in participating in the 13-week program, you can visit BRTC’s website or call 870-248-4129.