Fire training

Trustees at Mount Desert Island High School in Bar Harbor will soon decide whether or not to push ahead with a proposal from area fire chiefs who hope to create a firefighting training site on school grounds.

There also has been discussion about including formal firefighting classes as part of the curriculum at the school.

The impetus for these programs is to assure an adequate supply of volunteer firefighters for all the departments on MDI and in Trenton. As training requirements have become more rigorous and time-consuming, and as the current generation of volunteers is beginning to “gray” out as they near retirement, it is vital that a new wave of selfless citizen emergency responders be ready to step up. The approach easily could be integrated with existing graduation requirements that include a stint of community service.

Once young people are out of high school and preoccupied by the many diversions of college, career and young families, it is difficult to convince them to add public service such as firefighting, with its extensive training requirements, to their plates.

By inculcating students with the rewards of public service early, we will be taking an important first step towards keeping those vital resources ready and available in all our communities.

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