Firefighters to host children’s program

Published 12:02 am Friday, May 1, 2015

NATCHEZ — Bo Wells and Troy Whittington are looking to inspire a blazing passion in young people.

The two are offering children 13-18 an opportunity to learn what it takes to be a volunteer firefighter, while gaining pride and leadership along the way, through the Junior Firefighter Program.

The Junior Firefighter Program will start at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Foster Mound Volunteer Fire Department on 228 Foster Mound Road.

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“When I was growing up, we had the junior deputy program with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office,” said Wells, who is the assistant fire chief at Liberty Road Volunteer Fire Department. “The junior firefighter program will be a part of the fire department to let kids 13-18 who think they may want to become a firefighter later on and give them the insight of what the job requires of them.”

Children who participate in the junior firefighter program will be subject to training, but they will not be able to fight a fire.

The children will be able to come to the fire scene and hand out water, help with air tanks, and roll up the water hose and help put it back on the truck, Wells said.

“There’s so much more to what we do than just fighting a fire,” Wells said.

Children will also be able to get their hands on a pressure hose in the near future, Wells said.

Wells said the junior firefighter program will teach and instill respect in young children.

“This program will allow children to give back to the community, gain respect for volunteer services and keep them off the streets, by giving them something to do,” Wells said.

About 10 participants have signed up for the program thus far, including Wells’ two children — Jared and Justin Wells, both 13, who have found much enjoyment in the job of a firefighter.

Whittington said children will be able to get involved with the community if they participate in the program.

“You are giving youngsters, some of whom have no place to go or nothing to do, a feeling of accomplishment,” said Whittington, who is the assistant fire chief at Lake Montrose Volunteer Fire Department. “We are teaching them to be involved with the community by helping people.”

Whittington said that feeling of accomplishment comes from possibly saving someone’s home and their possessions.

Applications will be available Saturday to fill out. The junior firefighter program is free of charge and will require parent signature for children to participate in the program.