Volunteering at the Barling Fire Department since the age of three, serving the community does not seem out of the ordinary for sophomore Jaden Williams. After growing up witnessing his grandfather become heavily involved in the fire department, Williams began to search for opportunities to become involved as well. Throughout his childhood Williams would spend his time cleaning equipment used by the faculty and sweeping the floors. It wasn’t until last year that the department made an exception for Williams and officially recruited him and began his training.
“[My family] was nervous at first because of the risks and responsibilities it takes to be in the fire department,” Williams said.
When Williams first entered the department he went through several weeks of training to learn the fundamentals. Due to his age Williams could not have a hands on experience until this year. As Williams continues to volunteer, the responsibilities he has gained while working range from cleaning the bay to assisting faculty when responding to emergency medical calls.
“The obstacles I have faced while volunteering is learning how to do some of the stuff and not mess up while on call with patients,” Williams said.
From a young age Williams knew that becoming a firefighter was a career path set for him. Williams discussed that he enjoys acquiring new skills when volunteering such as learning how to use the jaws of life.
“It’s kind of an adrenaline rush for me,” Williams said.
Despite challenging tasks that face him, each day Williams looks forward to improving his skills and gaining more experience.
“I personally volunteer because seeing the look on a persons face when you help them, you can tell it makes their day and it makes my day,” Williams said.
After receiving hands on experience from the fire department Williams decided to initiate his own program called Explorer Program.
“The purpose of the program is for kids to come and get the feeling of being a firefighter and to help encourage them to start a view on a new career path,” Williams said.
Students who sign up will undergo training sessions throughout the year on Saturdays that involves learning the fundamentals such as how to take out a fire to how to use a fire hose.
The program is available to students ages fifteen through eighteen. Applications become available to the public within the next month and will be located at the Barling fire department website.