By Ivey McDaniel| Staff writer
It’s a Thursday night. Most teenagers are finishing their homework, catching up on the Vampire Diaries, or eating dinner. But sophomore Cassidy Curtis is at a training class at the Bexar-Bulverde
Volunteer Fire Department.
“I started volunteering in the beginning of December because I always thought of being a firefighter. It’s a different job, and I think it’s very unique for women and girls to be firefighters,” Curtis said.
Curtis’ drive to aid others runs in her faimly.
“My whole family is involved in criminal justice. I wanted to help people, but in a different way. One day after church, we passed by the fire department and decided to ask them if there were any junior programs. They said that there weren’t any, but they were trying to get one started, but you can go to training on Thursday night, and I’ve been going ever since,” Curtis said.
Training happens every week at the fire station and includes everything you need to know about being a volunteer.
“In training, they have classroom training where you sit in and learn about may-day calls and the building structure you’re going into, and other important things. And some other training nights we did a search and rescue, but I can’t do anything officially until I’m 18,” Curtis said.
Despite this disadvantage, Curtis has still found a way to get in on the action.
“I can go to the scene and on the truck. I usually stay in the truck, but on some calls I can get out and help. I’m allowed to help with brush fire calls. If the scene is gruesome, like if some one has passed away, I don’t go on those. I can go on minor calls like if someone falls down the stairs,” Curtis said.
There are other women at the station, but it’s easy to feel a little intimidated since Curtis is the youngest volunteer.
“We’re all a family, I’ve been told [that] by a lot of firefighters. I look up to them, it’s cool because I now have a lot of people I can go and talk to on Thursdays. My mom is really supportive, she has now started training with me, so we are now both officially yellow-shirts which is pro-B volunteer status,” Curtis said.
However, it’s not all fun-and-games, all of the volunteers are very serious and determined when it comes to their responsibilities in training.
“So far, the most difficult thing has been all the lifting and training, one session we had to drag a 250 pound dummy. There are a lot of dangers,” Curtis said.
One of the most nerve- wracking experiences for Curtis was when they practiced climbing the ladder.
“I climbed it, and it’s about a 100 feet long, and they angle it at a seven story building, plus, you have on all the bunker gear and it’s difficult, because the gear is pretty heavy. When you get to the top, your heart just starts pounding, but it’s a relief because you know you can come down,” Curtis said.
Curtis hopes volunteering and getting a head start while she’s a teenage will be an advantage when she’s an adult.
“I want to be a volunteer fire fighter and a paramedic when I’m older. The most rewarding thing is knowing I’m learning what I’m doing to help others, and knowing I have the ability to do a lot with my future.”