STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
MARBLE FALLS — Even though they know the so-called bunker gear used in the program gets cumbersome and hot, that doesn’t stop several young students from clamoring for a spot in the Marble Falls Fire Rescue Fire Camp each summer.
Due to continuing interest and community support, as many as a dozen new middle school students and a handful of returning volunteer students will experience what it’s like to be a firefighter during the week-long camp June 12-16 in Marble Falls.
“This camp is designed to expose the children to the fire service to let them explore it more as a career,” Marble Falls Fire Chief Russell Sander said. “Really, the goal is for them to want to become firefighters and come back and serve the community of Marble Falls.”
Among some of the activities, students will don bunker gear and air packs and trek through a smoke-filled room — theater smoke, of course.
“We’re going to give them some behind-the-scenes looks, and we will run them through some of our evolutions,” Sander said. “They learn about fire and EMS, so if they’re going to pursue it as a career, they have some knowledge of it.”
Throughout the week, crews will demonstrate how to use the hoses and detail the function of firefighting gear.
Camp locations will include the fire hall on Avenue N as well as the municipal yard off Colt Circle.
On the final day, the city yard will serve as the location for campers to participate in a car fire simulation, in which crews actually set vehicles on fire and campers work to douse the blaze.
Students will “graduate” from the camp with a ceremony on the final day, but the experience will have a lasting impact, Sander said.
“It gives them a leg-up, so if it’s something they want to pursue,” he said. “We end up developing friendships, not only with the kids but with their parents.”