Part of San Diego Unified School District's College, Career and Technical Education Program, it's designed to give kids hands-on experience. Teachers don’t rely on textbooks – they have the real deal.
A fire truck was dedicated Wednesday to the only program in the district and one of few in the country that teaches students about the career of firefighting.
“We have the self-contained breathing apparatus, the backpack with cylinders, we have in-service hoses, we have an out-of-service rig but we use it...it's better to have out-of-service rig than no rig at all because it teaches us what's it’s like to be a real firefighter,” said student Lindsey Latson.
It took the school a year and a half to get the money to buy the used but fully functional 1987-vintage pumper truck. It’s fully outfitted, with a 1,500 gallons-per-minute pump, a 500-gallon tank, lights and siren.
"There's no better way to learn than do it yourself,” said student Marco Wayne.
And do it yourself they do. FOX 5 cameras were rolling as students suited up, pulled the hoses and simulated putting out flames on a building.
It’s as hands-on as you can get, but for students like Lindsey, who started as a freshman, the training is only part of it.
“This class teaches you respect, discipline, accountability and overall respect for yourself,” Lindsey said.
Career firefighters also pass support on to students like Lindsey that plan to one day operate a fire truck for real.
“It’s also a good opportunity for our local fire department because it gives us a chance to expose kids to firefighting who may not have the chance previously so we can recruit, train and hopefully hire future students,” San Diego Fire Department Captain Tony David said.