There's an opportunity for aspiring firefighters in Marquette. The city fire department is starting a new training program for cadets.
"It's nice to be able to train people in house right here at the fire department. We have complete control over the quality of training," said Marquette City Fire Chief, Tom Belt.
The program wasn't possible until Public Act 153 of 2011 was amended this past May, which now allows Michigan school districts to affiliate with fire departments to participate in the firefighter one or two training courses, as long as students are 16 or older. The Marquette City Fire Department is working to start training within Marquette Senior High School, but for now it is open to anyone 16 up to any age.
The cadets will learn about some of the tools of the trade, including the flathead axe and the halligan bar, some of the most important tools in a firefighter's arsenal.
"It's going to be very hands-on training for the cadets, not so much sitting in a classroom with us preaching to them. They'll actually get real world training," said Marquette City Fire Department Relief Engineer, Mike Gwinn.
Cadets will learn how to perform in an emergency as part of a team and how to handle dangerous situations.
"Search and rescue, a lot of times you can't even see a hand in front of your face," Gwinn said.
Training also involves basic medical treatments. The training at an early age will help future firefighters get a leg up in a competitive work force.
"I think it's a really wonderful opportunity to get local interest, local talent, people who are interested in careers in fire service. It opens a lot of possibilities and opportunities for local kids," Chief Belt said.
After 240 hours of training over the winter season, cadets will have the chance to challenge the state test and become certified firefighters.