The Shipboard Aircraft Firefighting School is located in the Central Valley of California in the City of Lemoore. A major component of the Naval Air Station in Lemoore for the past 15 years, the Fire School’s primary mission is to train military personnel in aircraft firefighting techniques. During the past year and a half, the Fire School staff, which consists of nine instructors, has enthusiastically devoted time to work with the community’s youth by starting the Helping Hands program. The program’s “Helping Hands” seek ways to achieve goals that address the concerns of the entire community.
Through the Helping Hands Program, members of the Shipboard Aircraft Firefighting School work with area high schools, elementary schools and the City of Hanford Probation Boot camp. The Fire School has hosted 20 training sessions onboard Naval Air Station Lemoore with the Probation Boot camp. Troubled teens are taught responsibility and given alternatives to violence and drugs. The youth are also taught fire-fighting techniques and are actually tasked with extinguishing a fire. This teaches them the importance of teamwork.
The boot camp kids have been featured on two of the local television station’s news telecasts while performed fire fighting duties at the Fire School. The Sergeant in charge of the kids has noted a great improvement in their self-esteem, morale, and ability to work together. Fire Personnel also go to the boot camp three nights per week as part of an academic mentoring program.
Another outstanding example of the Fire School’s volunteer spirit was their response to Mary Immaculate Queen (MIQ) Elementary School’s call for assistance in its mandatory CPR training for teachers and staff. The MIQ staff was within days of their certifications being expired. Fire School personnel, who are also certified Red Cross CPR instructors, certified the entire staff in a two-day period. In addition, MIQ Elementary School was saved $300 in training costs.
During Fire Prevention Week, the Fire School staff taught home fire safety lectures at MIQ Elementary. Last year, Fire School personnel gave lectures to grades K-4, as well as giving home safety coloring books to each child. The Fire School also has established partnerships with three high schools’ NJROTC Programs. The volunteers give these students first-hand information on careers in the military and help with academics in Military Science. These students also have the opportunity to received hands-on training at the Fire School facility. NJROTC units in Oregon and Seattle have traveled to the Fire School to train with Fire School staff and the Navy Sea Cadets. Overall, the volunteers in the Fire School’s Helping Hands program consistently demonstrate genuine concern for the education and development of young people.