Octorara Homeland Security and Protective Services Academy (O.H.S.P.S.A.) is the reason why I am in the fire service. A teacher told me that he was starting a new program that would begin my sophomore year. He said the program would include fire, law enforcement, and emergency medical services. Since at first I was interested in criminal justice, I figured that it would be a great start for me. Since the class was going to be learning about the fire service, we had to join our local fire department. At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it since I wanted to be a police officer. However, after a couple of Monday night trainings I realized that I liked going to practice the skills that I learned from the program and socialize with all the members of the firehouse.
The program was split up so that each year we focused on a different aspect of the emergency services. My sophomore and senior years were focused specifically on getting my Fire One certification, as well as other certifications. My junior was mainly focuses on emergency medical services and law enforcement, and the certifications corresponding with those career fields. Upon graduating from the program I got several certifications including my NIMS, EMR, HAZMAT, and Fire One. Upon graduating high school I was able to use the certifications and knowledge I had learned to be eligible to be an interior firefighter.
The summer after I graduated high school I was accepted as the Department of Emergency Services intern. During my internship I went to the Government Services building in West Chester, and did a variety of activities to help me gain some knowledge of what a career in the Department of Emergency Services would look like. I was able to participate in several ride alongs with fire companies, ambulances, and police officers. This helped me gain the perspective of what these jobs were really like.
Although I do not plan on having a career as a professional firefighter, I do plan on continuing to volunteer at Cochranville Fire Company. The skills that I have learned through O.H.S.P.S.A., my internship, as well as at my firehouse are tools that I will use no matter what career path I choose. The Emergency Services have influenced my life in such a positive way that I am so glad that I did enroll in O.H.S.P.S.A.