The Public Safety program is currently the only Career Technical Education (CTE) that supports High School students attending different district High Schools. The program currently has students attending from Sierra High School and Truckee High School. Last year we had students attending from North Tahoe High School, and the hope is we will have more attendance from NTHS in the future. The Public Safety program focuses on Emergency Response incorporating firefighting and emergency medicine into the curriculum. We work very closely with the Truckee Fire Protection District in trainings and program development.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is a fundamental part of the program. The majority of our activities, academic and physical relate to or require PPE. We have been fortunate to issue full turnout great to each of our students. Trunout gear is the PPE firefighters wear when battling a structure fire. This is only the second year the program has been offered, but the interest in the program continues to increase. Consequently, we are having a difficult time providing PPE to each student.
The trunout PPE is used almost daily in the program. Since the PPE is a critical part to a firefighter being able to perform their tasks we spend a great deal of time focusing on and using this equipment. If you visit the classroom you may see the students engaged in learning about the functions and why the different materials are used in that PPE. You may also see the students performing physical tasks in their PPE such as donning and doffing Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBAs), performing an area search and rescue, managing equipment like fire hoses and ladders, engaged in a confidence course (firefighter survival techniques and awareness) and fire extinguisher training to name a few.
The trunout PPE consists of many parts for full body protection. The items include helmet, hood, coat, trousers, boots and gloves. Our current turnout PPE is the same turnout PPE the Truckee Fire Protection District's firefighters wear. Our student are very fortunate to train in this equipment. The students get a real feel for how heavy, hot and difficult it is to perform tasks in their PPE.
Two other parts of the program are also associate with the PPE and requested in this grant. Another focus of the class is attention to detail which is a very broad topic, but one of the focuses is care and treatment of equipment. The emergency response professionals rely on their equipment for life and death situations, therefor making sure the equipment is in top working order is critical. Our students are taught how to take care of their PPE. This includes proper storage. I have also included Tournout Bags in the grant. Leadership and Incident Command (IC) is associated with the other part of the grant. Firefighter leadership and IC can be distinguished by the firefighter's helmet and helmet shield. I have asked for one black and one red helmet distinguishing different ranks. The helmet shield also has identification on it to identify the firefighter’s district or company, their name and their rank.
I have outlined how significant the turnout PPE is to the Public Safety program in the previous two sections, Description and Benefits of Program. As discussed in those sections one can see how most of the program time can revolves around the trunout PPE. I frequently remind my students to study and pay attention to the uniforms and trunout PPE worn by the firefighters we train with; helping emphasise the importance of the equipment and how much the equipment can tell us about leadership and IC.
I have also described how the equipment will be implemented in the previous sections. I can not emphases enough how fundamental this equipment is to the program. Our first day of class incorporated the PPE and we have been using it daily since. The turnout PPE is somehow related to or incorporated into every section taught in the Public Safety pathway. The PPE equipment also has a ten year life span in the fire service, which means the equipment will last the Public Safety program much longer because we are not using the PPE in “real life” exercises.
My program is the only program in the district of this type, I have no grade level or PLC team to share the equipment with.
There is currently no district or state funding available.
This link shows the students and PPE in action at an extrication training with Truckee Fire. The images are my students using the extrication equipment.