FAIRDALE, KY (WAVE) - Staff and students enrolled in the Fire Science and EMS program at Fairdale High School welcomed a new member to their crew Monday by getting drenched.
"It's a ceremony called a wet down," said Fairdale Fire Science and EMS instructor Jeff Birt.
Students enrolled in Birt's academy celebrated the arrival of a fire engine donated to the program by the Fairdale Fire Department. First students lathered the engine in soap. Then, they stood in the midst of a powerful, cold stream of water as Fairdale firefighters rinsed off the engine - and the students.
"You pretty much wash the truck and then the fire department that gave it to you soaks you with their fire engine," said Oren Long, a sophomore in the fire services program.
Long is one of 46 students between 10th and 12th grade currently enrolled in the Fire Science and EMS program. Aspiring to become a professional firefighter, the 15-year-old said the donation could not have come at a better time.
"Our truck was getting pretty old and it was breaking on us," said Long. "A new pump and a lot more power behind it; it will help us out."
Capable of pumping 1,500 gallons per minute, the fire truck has already been affectionately named by the students.
"This is Brutus II," said Birt gesturing to the newly acquired fire engine. "The pumper that we had before was named by the students last year as Brutus; kind of as an appropriate name for a bulldog."
For some Fairdale firefighters on hand for the engine dedication, the ceremony sparked memories. Both Fairdale Fire Captains Josh Underwood and Kyle Lankford once stood in the Fairdale students' shoes.
"We had an old auxiliary engine from the city, but we didn't hardly have any nicknames for it," said Underwood, reminiscing to his days in the high school fire program.
"It's a different experience when you're on this side of it," said Lankford. "The proud Fairdale Bulldog alumni jumped at the opportunity to give back to his alma mater.
"It kind of gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling being a role model to them," Lankford said. "With everything going on in the world today, kids need more positive role models in their lives than what's going on. So, it's a good feeling."
It's a connection students like Long value and are thankful for.
"Now that they gave us a truck, it just means that they're there for us," said Long. "Thank you for everything that they've done. They've taught us a bunch of stuff and helped us out over the year."
About 100 Fairdale High School 9th graders currently enrolled in a public safety rotation will eventually decide between taking part in the Fire Science and EMS program or a Law Enforcement program also offered at the Jefferson County Public Schools facility.
According to Birt, students presently enrolled in the Fire Science and EMS program split their time between the classroom and hands-on training sessions.
"Over the course of a year, students learn of and work with ladders, ropes, personal protective equipment, and hose lines," said Birt. "They are introduced to disaster and emergency planning, building construction, water supply, first aid, and fire prevention and education. Other topics include portable extinguishers, ventilation, forcible entry, salvage and overhaul, wild land firefighting, safety, fire department organization, search and rescue, and aircraft firefighting. The students can earn Kentucky Fire Commission recognized training hours."
Thanks to donations like Brutus II, Birt is hopeful the program will continue to develop and produce fire and EMS leaders for years to come.
For more information about the Fairdale High School Fire Science and EMS program, click here.