Currituck County High School CTE students learn first-hand how to put out fires

Published 9:23 am Sunday, October 3, 2021

Currituck County High School students enrolled in Career Technical Education (CTE) courses gain unique opportunities with hands-on learning, many times mirroring real-world work situations.

Carpentry and automotive students, led by Bradon Whitlow, deputy chief of Crawford Township Fire Department and CCHS alumni, experienced first-hand the numerous facets of fire extinguishers. From the different types of extinguishers, to the different types of fires that can be extinguished, Whitlow thoroughly explained this information to students, who were then able to experience it firsthand.

The key to proper use was explained through an easy to remember acronym, P.A.S.S. –Pull the ping, Aim at the base of the fire, Squeeze the handle and Sweep the fire extinguisher from side to side. Whitlow started a fire and, while students were a little timid at first, they gained confidence and all were able to extinguish the fire. Whitlow stated if all students had confidence and knowledge of using an extinguisher or being familiar with different kinds of fire, they would be able to extinguish a fire themselves. Whitlow credited CCHS CTE with his current career success; being a part of CTE courses at CCHS helped him find his passion in the fire department. Mark Wootton, CCHS automotive teacher, stated this skill is essential for working on cars, “you never know when a fire could occur in an engine.”

Herb Redfield, a representative from Fire Protection Company, based in Virginia, obtained 18 self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) from the Suffolk Fire Department and donated them to the fire technology class. One SCBA consists of a backpack and harness, air cylinder assembly, regulator assembly and face-piece assembly. This equipment is essential to a CTE fire technology program, allowing students to train with the same personal protective equipment that is used in fire departments.

Redfield, a former fire chief, goes out of his way to help schools find equipment they need for the practical learning component of class. Instructor and former fire captain Michael Basilone stated the support of people like Redfield helps him teach the next generation of firefighters. A single SCBA can cost up to $1000. This donation is greatly appreciated by Mr. Basiolone and the fire technology class.

– Courtesy Currituck County Schools

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