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Fire department programs educate public on emergency situations

Feb 23, 2022 07:49PM ● By Linda Steele

Babysitters holding baby dolls during the babysitter academy. (Photo credit Becky Steeneck)

By Linda Steele l [email protected]

Emergencies and natural disasters can unfortunately happen. West Jordan provides community courses to increase public awareness and preventive educational programs. West Jordan officials are offering an array of courses to educate the community in the event of emergencies.

West Jordan leaders are supportive of the West Jordan Fire Department classes. City officials support the CPR classes and they promote them to West Jordan’s residents. The fire department also trains city employees in first aid and CPR. Department members feel it will help each other and residents in case of an emergency. It is important to know how to give aid to people in the event of an emergency. Crews will go out on emergency calls, and people will ask how they can help. Residents learning CPR and CERT will help in an emergency. This can have a great effect in helping the community and firefighters.

Derek Maxfield, West Jordan Fire Department chief, is a big proponent of education, and he felt it was necessary to educate the community with certified courses.

“Public education is an integral part of the West Jordan’s Fire Department’s mission and our desire to keep the community safe,” he said. “Obviously, prevention is the best medicine, which is also part of our outreach efforts. However, when emergencies do occur, knowing what to do, especially during the few minutes between the call to 911 and the arrival of the fire department, can make all the difference for someone in a life-or-death situation. Classes like CPR, CERT and our babysitting academy help get the information out to the public so our residents can act with confidence when faced with an emergency situation.”

Becky Steeneck, public education specialist, was hired in 2019 to help educate the community about classes. The department tried to offer classes before 2019. Because of inconsistencies, it was difficult for the firefighters to complete normal duties and try to manage the classes. The department wanted someone who was dedicated to the position to make sure it would succeed.

“I was interested in the position because I am a teacher and loved the idea of creating something from the ground up,” Steeneck said. “Once I got into it, the motivation evolved, and I would say is twofold now. Not only do I want the citizens of West Jordan to feel confident when handling emergencies, which is what most of the classes provide, but I also want them to understand how the fire department will take care of them in emergencies as well.”

One of the biggest surprises Steeneck has learned in this position is about firefighters and firefighting.

“I want to provide opportunities for our citizens to get a glimpse into what it is like being a firefighter, and just how much they sacrifice to protect the citizens,” she said. “That’s where our programs like the Jr. Firefighter Academy, our Open House and many of our school programs come in.”

“We are very fortunate to have Becky in our public education division,” Maxfield said. “It can be hard to measure outcomes in her line of work, but I have no doubt her efforts have already saved lives or will in the future. The importance of public education can’t be overstated.”  

One of the classes offered is Jr. Firefighter Academy. You may have a child that dreams about being a firefighter. They may play like they are firefighters. For those children with that dream, the Jr. Firefighter is a summer day camp. Your child will find out what it is to be a firefighter. They will ride in a fire truck, spray the hose, climb ladders, and practice first aid. Registration for the academy starts April 20.

There is a babysitting course partnered with Jordan Valley Medical Center. This course focuses on babysitting to help children gain confidence they need when babysitting. The course covers CPR and fiirst aid, how to engage with children of all ages and how to keep the children safe. The course is for children ages 12–14.

Fire and life safety school presentations focus on youth. There are different focuses for each grade level for children to learn safety knowledge skills. The course will focus on their current core curriculum to enhance their learning environment.

This is for preschool, kindergarten and grades 1–6. If you are a teacher in West Jordan, contact city administrators to schedule a lesson for your class or school.

For CPR, CERT, health fairs and events, and business training. The classes offer first aid and CPR, fire safety and fire extinguisher training. CERT training is developed by FEMA to help people to be prepared in the event of a natural disaster.

For health fairs and events, contact the fire department to discuss your event and to schedule. The West Jordan Fire Department has guidelines to discuss if your event is a good fit.

This year, the West Jordan Fire Department is adding CPR and CERT courses for Spanish speakers. Department members hope to be able to serve a larger portion of their community by adding these classes. They are also planning a Teen Fire Academy for teens interested in becoming a firefighter. This course will be an introduction about the job of being a firefighter as well as helping teens know how to attend different schools and training.

The classes are ongoing. To get more information about the classes, contact Steeneck at [email protected] or email [email protected]. You can also call 385-602-3960.

Classes are held at Station 53 in Jordan Landing, 7602 Jordan Landing Blvd.