Many students spend their summer soaking up rays at the beach or travelling to national parks, but some students, like Victoria Rodriguez, chose a different path. This past summer, she spent her mornings and afternoons at North Wake Fire Department One.
“I found interest this summer in firefighting, and I decided that’s what I want to do when I get older. So I decided to look into that and I found a Junior Program where I can go and train to be a firefighter until I turn 18. Then it turns into a paying job and this entire summer I spent my time up there training and just learning about what they do,” said Rodriguez.
Everyday, Rodriguez woke up at 6:30 a.m. to be at the station by 7:30 a.m. She started with signing into the computer which tracked her hours for the program; each quarter Rodriguez must earn 9 hours.
She then started her truck check offs, which included checking every apparatus of the truck including the engine, the rescue, and the tanker: all parts which are vital to the truck. Another crucial part of Rodriguez’s program was constantly checking the truck and other equipment to make sure everything was in place in case of an emergency call.
After truck check offs, firefighters asked Junior Firefighters what they wished to train on that day. In order to ride on the fire engines and help on calls, Rodriguez, like every Junior Firefighter, must complete a checklist which made up her day-to-day activities.
“Sometimes we’d go either to get ice cream or go shopping to get stuff to make lunch,” said Rodriguez. “After that we’d kind of just train more and go home, but I was doing that for most of the summer. I was at the station five days a week.”
Rodriguez explained that the job had a very positive affect on her as it gave her something to work towards and look forward to when she gets older. “My favorite thing was getting to know…the firefighters that worked there…and just building relationships with them. Just getting to train with them, and our ice cream runs. It was so much fun.”
Thanks to her days spent volunteering, Rodriguez now knows what she wants to do later life and what steps she needs to complete in order to achieve her goal.