Garland ISD teams up with El Centro, fire department to prepare future firefighters

Some Garland High School students are on the fast track to become firefighters thanks to an innovative partnership between Garland Independent School District, the Garland Fire Department and El Centro College.

The organizations have teamed up together to create the “Triple Credit Firefighter Model,” a three-year program that prepares high school students to become firefighters. It’s currently in its first year.

Some of the program’s participants are as young as 15-years-old. They start the program in their freshman year. When they graduate from it, they earn a level-one certificate in fire sciences.

“It's exciting to see these kids at this level doing so well,” Garland Fire Department Battalion Chief Glenn Johnson said.

Part of the program requires students to participate in a summer boot camp. On Friday, they put on nearly 60-pounds of equipment before they practiced extinguishing a structure fire.

“To be honest with you at first I wanted to be a police officer but they didn't have a program for that,” Garland ISD student Karla Munoz said. “So I tried firefighting. It's been lovely.”

At the end of the program, students will be able to to take the state firefighter’s exam as well as Garland’s civil service exam.