05/27/13 500 W, 1 I - + 8 - 2 Garner High School's New Public Safety/Firefighter Program

The Garner-Cleveland Record last month reported on a new pilot program that's paired the Garner Fire Department with the Wake County Public School System. Expanding upon the story by Kyle Jahner, here's some information from a recent conversation with Garner Fire Chief Matthew Poole. The school system approached the fire department in 2011, about a pilot program to prepare high school students for careers in public safety. Four programs already existed in the state: Concord, Fayetteville, Jacksonville, and Harnett County. Additionally, a fifth program was starting in Hickory.

Officials from both the school system and the fire department toured Concord, to learn about their program. The fire department also helped the school system find an instructor. John Pinder was hired by the school to begin the program at Garner High School. Pinder was a former Cary firefighter and, most recently, a former Deputy Fire Marshal for the City of Raleigh. His first classes started in the spring 2013 semester, consisting of generic public safety classes.

Pinder's teaching two classes of thirty-three students, one of fifteen students and one of eight. Next year's enrollment has tripled, however. Nearly a hundred students are enrolled for the program beginning in the fall. The planned sequence of courses is general public safety, followed by Firefighter I, then Firefighter II. Students will finish the program with nearly all state credentials for Firefighter I and II, with the exception of live burn training. That's omitted due to age restrictions. Upon graduation from high school, students complete their fire training at Wake Technical Community College. The program will also prepare students to enter fire science college curriculums.

The program is currently providing instruction only on fire suppression. EMT is planned to be added at a latter. The program may expanded in the future to include EMS and/or law enforcement.

Pinder is also becoming (or has become) a member of the Garner Fire Department. He'll benefit from access to department resources, and have the ability to maintaining his certifications. They'll benefit from him as a volunteer member, and he'll be serving on duty crews. Down the road, the fire department may also look at implementing a junior firefighter program, that aligns with the school program. The fire department is also looking at providing a 1992 Pierce pumper to the program. The truck is a reserve of a reserve, and will be either donated or leased. The engine would be used on site, at the school.

The program is still being developed. Pinder is still putting his curriculum and resource needs together. The fire department anticipates shared use of larger training props, and a partnership at the training level for school students and firefighters.

Garner High School has seen their vocational programs grow in popularity. They have an Junior ROTC program that has taken off in recent years. They have more than 260 students in the ROTC program this year. Read the Garner-Cleveland record story for more information.

Garner-Cleveland Record/Kyle Jahner photo

Way to go John!! Keep up the good work!
A.C. Rich - 05/27/13 - 20:27

A fifth program exists in Montgomery county, NC. It started in August 2012
Aaron (Email) - 05/31/13 - 00:57

PINDERRR!!! Miss you buddy. had a good time in his class last year. Great teacher!
Tyler C. - 11/25/13 - 10:44

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