NAMPA, Idaho — Local college students are learning what it takes to be a firefighter. Instructors from eleven fire departments across Southwestern Idaho are working with a select group of College of Western Idaho (CWI) students in a first-of-its-kind fire certificate program.
"They're gonna do a hose drag, they're also gonna do a ladder raise, and ladder lower..." said Kevin Platts, Director of Public Safety Programs, CWI.
The group of students underwent a rigorous Candidate Physical Ability Test on Thursday, which is used by over 450 fire departments to test their candidates.
"Having that 170 pound dummy in the end-- that dummy weighs more than I do! So dragging it around the barrel is pretty challenging," Tucker Silva, student in the program.
The new semester-long Fire Service Technology certificate program is the only one of its kind within roughly 350 miles.
"It makes me feel good when I see that people need help with something, and I have a skill set where I can jump in and help them with that."
Platts said the program has been in development over 10 years. The idea, he said, is that it's putting Idaho students in idaho jobs, trained by Idaho instructors.
"This is not CWI saying we should run a fire academy. This is the fire departments coming to us, and saying, 'CWI should run this fire academy,' so that they can train the best of the best and bring use the highest standards to bring the best firefighters to the Treasure Valley," said Platts.
Fire professionals involved in the program say smaller communities like Kuna, Parma, and Melba will especially benefit from having this in the community, since they expect the students will be hirable for those stations directly after graduation.
"It's important to me to stay in the Treasure Valley, so when I saw this program come up, I knew this was the perfect opportunity where I could get more experience, go to school and get some certifications that would help me, and really get to know some of the departments in the Treasure Valley where I wanna be," said Silva.
Now that Silva passed this 8-station test, which had to be completed within 10 mins and 20 seconds, he says he is looking forward to becoming even more qualified to be the Treasure Valley's next hometown hero.
"I'm having a great time here."
With their certifications, they can go on to work in 42 different states.