HOUSTON – Hundreds of kids have gone through the Houston Fire Academy and while you can measure the fun, determining how many lives and how much property has been saved is a little more difficult
The seventh annual Houston Cadet Fire Academy is coming July 8 through Aug. 1, with the traditional safety courses on tap and a few new classes scheduled. And of course the kids will get to squirt water from a real fire hose attached to a real fire truck
“We always have a lot of fun,” said Captain Jonathan Blankenship, of the Houston Fire Department. “But I always feel like these kids learn something. I really do think this program has made our town safer.”
The camp will be held over four evenings from 6-9 p.m. and will feature several demonstrations of fire safety.
“I think the part they like the most is they get to do things,” said Blankenship. “Crawling through a smoke house teaches you smoke rises. Learning how to dial 911 and what to say can come in real handy if a kid needs to call a policeman, ambulance or to report a fire.”
Participants do some classroom work, but will also tour the department’s smoke house training facility and get to experience hooking up and manning hoses. There will also be interactive demonstrations on emergency response and safety and the correct use of the E911 system.
“The main thing is basic firefighting and fire safety,” said Blankenship. “Every year we have parents tell us their kids tell them when it’s time to change the batteries in their smoke detector.
“We all know these things,” he added. “But it is different when your child looks at you and tells you about fire safety.”
New this year will be the Mississippi Highway Patrol “Drive Alive” program that teaches kids about impaired driving, texting while driving and why they need to wear a safety belt in the car.
Parents are invited to attend Friday’s graduation ceremony.
The event is sponsored by a grant from the Mississippi State Department of Health and partnerships with local businesses. County and city firefighters volunteer their services to conduct the fire academy.
“This really is a lot of hard work on our volunteers and they are worn out at the end of the week,” said Blankenship. “But we are all serious when we say if it saves the life of one child or family, it worth it.”
For information about the academy or to help sponsor the event, call the