Underneath the fluorescent lights of South Middle School’s pool, a firefighter, clad in more than 100 pounds of diving equipment, plunged into the water.
A group of about 20 seventh-graders looked on — eyes wide and mouths agape — as the diver sunk lower and lower until he looked like nothing more than a black shape at the bottom of the pool, his presence only noticeable because of a trail of bubbles that billowed to the top.
That dive was part of sessions the Eau Claire Fire Department presented all South seventh-graders on Thursday. Part of a partnership between the department and the Eau Claire school district, the sessions gave students the opportunity to learn aquatic safety tips and about what it takes to become a firefighter, while also allowing members of the fire department’s dive team to perform their quarterly training.
“It’s a neat partnership we have with the school district,” said Jason Knecht, a fire inspector with the department who led the session. “It’s a win-win situation on both ends.”