Butler ablaze with fire science

by Emily Beckman

Not everyone is able to call the fire department their home away from home, but 10 fire science students can.

Currently, eight men and two women make up the live-in residency program at Fire Station No. 2 in El Dorado.

According to Dona Larimer, administrative assistant in fire science and early college public safety academy, these students are required to work five 24 hour shifts during the month with the El Dorado Fire Department.

“They are expected to do whatever they need to do; the duties of the fire department,” Larimer says.

The fire science program recently gained its own firetruck, Engine 8. The City of El Dorado and the El Dorado Fire Department donated it to the college.

In addition, the program gained a new training tower over the summer, which was finished at the end of July. The tower cost $180,000, according to Anita Mills, Dean of health, education and public services.

This new asset will allow students to engage in live training, including live burns and working with smoke.

“It will benefit all of our fire science classes,” Larimer says.

Sophomore Jalis Bullock, who is in her second year of the live-in residency program, has used the new tower three times so far.

“The first time I used it we did search and rescue,” Bullock says.

She explains that students used a thermal energy camera to find a mannequin that had been hidden and filled with smoke, before getting it out of the tower.

Along with being a volunteer firefighter at the El Dorado Fire Department through the program, Bullock recently accepted a position at the Sedgwick County Fire Department.

She explains that she will will train for three months at their academy, before becoming a part-time firefighter for the county.

“Our graduates are recruited from local and regional fire departments and other entities,” Mills says. “Butler fire science graduates are well respected and are recognized for their expertise coming in as a firefighter.”

Mills believes a number of aspects set Butler’s fire science apart from other school’s programs.

“I’d say [it is] the quality of instruction from our faculty, the curriculum that’s offered and the hands on training opportunities that we have with the fire engine and our new fire training facility,” she says.

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