New firefighter elective at Baker

This fall, Baker High School, in conjunction with the town of Lysander Public Safety Committee's Council of Department Educational Services (C.O.D.E.S.), launched a firefighter/EMS training course as an elective.

The course has been made possible through a grant that the Department of Homeland Security awarded the Belgium-Cold Springs Fire Department. The grant covers three years of instruction costs at the high school. The school district and the fire department believe that Baker High School is the only high school in the state offering a firefighter elective to its students.

The first session of the course is full, with 20 students, male and female, learning basic firefighting skills and emergency medical training that will prepare them to join a volunteer fire/EMS agency. The class meets daily, and Paul Becker, lead instructor at the high school, said the students are eager to learn.

Volunteer firefighters from the Baldwinsville, Belgium-Cold Springs, Phoenix, Lakeside and Lysander fire departments instruct students in scene support including CPR and basic first aid. As the semester progresses, students will get hands on experience in raising and climbing ladders, using and maintaining fire hose and other equipment and tools, and preparing victims for transportation to the hospital. Becker explained that this course does not qualify students to fight fires from the inside of burning structures, but when finished with the course, they will be able to assist firefighters in support activities.

Becker noted that the course's main objectives are to serve Baldwinsville's students and strengthen the Baldwinsville community by raising student awareness of the benefits of volunteering in community organizations and serving with a fire department or EMS group. Becker explained that as a member of a fire department, students must adhere to certain guidelines for school attendance, grades and behavior. These guidelines give them incentives to perform their best in school.

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