Kids learn valuable lessons at Jr. Fire Academy in Monroe County

AMORY, Miss. (WCBI) – Knowing what to do in an emergency is a good skill to have at any age.

And in Monroe County, some youngsters are getting an early start on learning all about emergency preparedness.

For a second year, the Amory Fire Department is holding its Junior Fire Academy.

Around 30 children from Monroe County are getting a chance to see what it takes to be a firefighter and learn some valuable lessons in safety.

The six to 12-year-olds are taking part in the Amory Junior Fire Academy.

Cruz Jimenez, a five-year veteran with the Amory Fire Department, said the academy is a great way to connect with kids and the community.

“We started it last year,” Jimenez said. “We wanted to reach out to the kids, a mentorship people they can look up to and then just give us a relationship between the department and the community.”

The weeklong academy has classroom instruction and hands-on activities to teach cadets about safety, first aid, and of course, firefighting.

Each day, firefighters cover a different subject.

Jimenez said he enjoys teaching children about fire and life safety.

“I’ve been involved with it my entire life,” Jimenez said. “My father retired from the fire department so just remember as a kid growing up with it and it’s still with me. We are looking for maybe a recruitment-type deal where as they get older they kind of fall in love with it like we are, like we do. So, this is kind of a stepping stone for them to bigger things.”

Captain Evan Branham has been a firefighter for almost 17 years.

He said that he hopes the academy can teach the kids more than just how to put out a fire.

“I think I just want them to see that they can do what they want to do when they grow up,” Branham said. “I know a lot of people say that but truly they can if they put the hard work in and set their mind to it, no matter what background you come from, you can achieve them when you get older. You can be whatever you want to be when you do grow up.”

The fire department plans to hold a graduation ceremony for the junior cadets on the last day of the academy.

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