11-school CASEY Club introduces HISD students to career as firefighter/EMT

Students from Chavez, Westbury, Yates and Sharpstown high schools spent a sunny day completing a 24-foot ladder extension, hoisting equipment and rescuing a dummy named Randy. The exercises were part of the CASEY Club’s physical ability test for students interested in becoming firefighters. The Houston Fire Department’s CASEY Club — which stands for cultivate, advise, support, empower and youth — creates and fosters a career path to become a firefighter/EMT for high school sophomores, juniors , and seniors.

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In its first year of implementation, the CASEY Club has met every month at 11 HISD high schools and has a group of about 70 participants who go through physical training exercises with firefighters. They also discuss life in the fire service, participate in college presentations, and tour fire department facilities.

“I was talking to my counselor at school one day and she told me about the CASEY Club,” said Chavez High School junior Daniel Hernandez. “I want to become a firefighter/EMT before going into the military.”

Through the afterschool program, the CASEY Club hopes to introduce the students to all aspects of a career as a firefighter/EMT. Even if students don’t opt to become trainees, the program aims to encourage students to build self-esteem, social and behavioral skills, and to be good citizens.

Once students graduate from high school, the requirements to become a firefighter include a minimum age of 19, completing at least 15 accredited transferable college hours with a grade of “C” or higher, and earning a Texas Commission on Fire Protection and Texas Department of State Health Services (EMT) certifications. They must also have two or less moving violations in the previous 36 months. Students who chose a career in the fire service can earn anywhere from $28,000-42,000 per year.

To become a member of the CASEY Club, students can contact a high school counselor or administrative office for more information. Participating high schools are Westbury, Madison, Booker T. Washington, Chavez, Yates, Furr, Reagan, Austin, Sharpstown, Barbara Jordan, and Davis.