Junior Firefighters train for service

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – The LaPlace Volunteer Fire Department has participated in the Junior Fire-fighters Program for more than 10 years and continue to accept students for their Monday night training.

Fire Chief Brent Glidden said the program is for students between the ages of 15 through 18-years old.

“We don’t allow the juniors to go on calls anymore, because of insurance reasons,” said Glidden. “They do get training to learn about fire-fighting and participate in the training, but not in live fires or anything that could be a hazard to them or get hurt.”

Glidden said the students usually come during the school year on Monday nights from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., but have to leave early to be able to do homework, because “school comes first,” he said.

After the juniors graduate from high school, they can become a full-time fire-fighter and will be covered by insurance and have all the same privileges as the other fire-fighters, according to Glidden.

“We offer “rookie school” to the juniors once they have graduated,” said Glidden. “This is for new members and last about six weeks. We teach them all the basics and put them through a live fire burn. We show them how to do pretty much what they see us doing in the community.”

Glidden said they will have mentors for about six months, then they are voted in as a full-time fire-fighter and no longer a rookie. The program is set up so that when they finish the rookie program they can go and take the LSU Certification test, he said.

East St. John High School freshman Josh Hamilton got into the program, because of his father, Assistant Fire Chief Bobby Hamilton.

“My dad works here, so that’s how I found out about the program,” said Hamilton. “I just like doing it, it’s fun for me and my friends. I plan to go all the way through the program and become a fire-fighter too. We are here to learn how to help people out, not to play around.”

Home-schooled twins Amanda and Logan Boudreaux, 16, found out about the program, because of their father as well – fire-fighter Leslie Boudreaux.

“My dad’s been doing this since we were born,” said Amanda. “We grew up in the fire department.”

an plans to join the Air-Force.

“It’s a great opportunity for anybody,” said Amanda.

The LaPlace Volunteer Fire Department is the only place in St. John the Baptist Parish that offer the Junior Fire-fighters Program.

Everyone is welcome to volunteer from students to parents and the general public, according to Glidden.

If interested, contact the fire department at 985-652-9445 or stop by at 521 Hemlock St. in LaPlace.