Palm Coast - The Palm Coast Fire Department invites youth ages 13 to 17 to apply to the new Junior Firefighter Program for a hands-on experience at learning about a career in firefighting and public safety. 

Teens must be meet age requirements by Jan. 1, 2021. Applications are due the first of the year and can be picked up at Fire Station 25. The Junior Firefighters will sit for a formal panel interview for acceptance into the program.

Space is limited to 20 students and parents must provide permission. The program will be staffed and managed by the career members of the fire department. Students will attend weekly meetings from 6-8 p.m. at Fire Station 25 covering topics from an established curriculum. Additionally, one field day will be held per month on a scheduled Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon for hands on skills and operations.

"This program can be a valuable recruitment tool helping us find a new stream of volunteers, interns and community supporters that will be the backbone of our department for years to come," said Firefighter Paramedic Joseph Fajardo. "It is important for our department to get youth involved and the positive impact it will have, not only on the community, but on the individuals themselves. A junior program is a great tool for recruiting potential future members and leaders of Palm Coast, serving as a feeder for the fire department intern program."

Junior Firefighters will use real fire equipment as well as be CPR certified and practice medical skills and evaluations. They will also be required to attend physical training prior to each class. Students must also maintain a 2.0 GPA and are required to bring report cards to meetings when they are issued.

Students can stay invested until 18 years of age where they will have all of the knowledge and abilities to complete their state test requirements for Firefighter and EMT, affording them a career.

"Establishing a youth program will help our department form stronger bonds within our community and teach participants critical skills such as leadership, teamwork and responsibility," said Chief Jerry Forte. "In addition, junior programs provide youth with invaluable experience and education in fire and emergency medical services, and members of these programs often become life-long supporters of their department."

For more information, contact the Palm Coast Fire Department at 386-986-2300.