Three local fire companies depend upon volunteers to operate effectively, and company leaders have lamented the diminishing involvement of younger members. Three Strath Haven High School students helped recruit the next generation of volunteers at the high school’s recent activities assembly.
Two students have begun the application process to join the Swarthmore Fire and Protective Association, said Swarthmore cadet member Johnathan Cresson, a 9th grader at SHHS, who has been accompanying his father Rich to the firehouse since age 3. “I’ve loved fire trucks as long as I can remember, so it’s only fitting I’d join.”
As a cadet (14-15 year-old) or junior (16-17) member, Cresson said, “You learn by observation,” in drills, training, fire prevention programs, at the firehouse and on emergency calls during certain hours. Juniors have additional responsibilities and can begin firefighter training, as SHHS senior Will Carey has through a Delaware County program. He is one of more than 10 young firefighters at the Garden City Fire Company. Cameron Yarborough, a sophomore at SHHS and a cadet at South Media Fire Company, will begin training this fall in Montgomery County’s Fire Academy’s junior firefighting program.
Boys and girls aged 14 to 18 are welcome to come to their local fire station on meeting nights (Swarthmore’s is Thursday at 7:30 p.m.) or to talk to any of these three young fire company members at school.