By Jano Tantongco
The Dix Hills Fire Department is primed to host its first ever Junior Firefighter Academy, seeking to teach children ages 12-14 hands-on rescue skills and field trips.
Todd Cohen, a commissioner with the department, who’s also heading the program, explained that Todd Baker, another member of the department, helped inspire the idea after mentioning that the upstate Cold Spring Fire Department has been doing a junior academy for the past 10 years.
After seeing the program in action themselves, they decided to make it a reality.
“They’ve had a very high rate of success of people joining the fire department as a result of the camp,” he said.
Dix Hills’ camp is slated to run Aug. 15- Aug. 19. On that Monday, there will be an orientation, classroom time and swimming in the afternoon in Town of Huntington pools.
The next day, there will be a demonstration of a live burn at the Yaphank Fire Academy, where children will see firefighters extinguish a fire. They’ll will also get a peek into the Suffolk County EMS call center to see how 911 calls are taken and units dispatched.
Additionally, children will get to see how firefighters collaborate with their four-legged companions by a presentation with either Chief Fire Marshal Don Lynch and Accelerant Detection K-9 Tiana, or Fire Marshal Brett Martinez and Accelerant Detection K-9 Jewel.
On Aug. 17, children will take an American Heart Association Heartsaver course to learn the basics of CPR and first aid.
Then, the next day, they’ll will visit the Macarthur Airport Fire-Rescue department to see how the fire department works with the Suffolk County Police Department to assist and transport patients via medivac to treat burns and accidents.
To close out the academy on Aug. 19, enrollees will graduate. Families will be invited to the ceremony.
“Basically, they would learn about the history of the fire department and how we operate,” Cohen said. “Your neighbors are your volunteers. We are a volunteer service, nobody is compensated for this.”
Cost per participant is $300. For more information, or to enroll, visit Dixhillsfd.org, or call 631-499-8836 ext. 113.
Cohen added the course was nearly at full capacity as of Monday, but registrants were still being accepted.