Firefighters academy soon to be reality for Harlingen schools

HARLINGEN – Kick the tires and light the fires.

From the jargon of fighter pilots to urban slang, this line can also add a little kick to the latest initiative of the Harlingen school district.

The new firefighters academy will soon make a grand appearance for Harlingen students wishing to pursue the trade.

The signing of a memorandum of understanding recently between the school district and the City of Harlingen has brought it one step closer to reality.

“We worked on this for two years,” said Raul Alvarez, director of career and technology education for the Harlingen school district.

The academy will be a two-year course – Fire Fighter One and Fire Fighter Two – for juniors and seniors.

The course will be taught by real firefighters.

“They will learn a high level of skill,” Alvarez said. “They will learn burn skills, ladder climbing, putting out fires. They will work with the Jaws of Life.”

Alvarez said this rigorous curriculum will engage students age 16 through 18 in activities usually reserved for older prospective firefighters.

The coursework will prepare them to take two exams for entry level jobs with fire departments.

“They will put in over 400 hours,” he said.