New grant to help bolster Onalaska high school fire academy

  • Source: WLAX/WEUX FOX 25/48 La Crosse/Eau Claire
  • Published: 06/02/2022 12:00 AM

Fire departments across the state are struggling with recruiting and retaining firefighters. When Chief Troy Gudie joined the Onalaska Fire Department in 1989, the staff consisted of 36 paid on-call firefighters. That number has dwindled over the last thirty years, leading Gudie to come up with new ways to recruit fresh faces. Onalaska Fire has partnered with Western Technical College to create La Crosse County’s first high school fire academy. “The vision and goal of this program is to get high school students interested at a young age to enter into an exciting career as a professional firefighter.” Western President Roger Stanford says the college is building training courses that make students want to become firefighters. “A tour is one thing, but really a strong immersion into the curriculum where you come out with a couple of certifications, that’s what western does.”



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