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Fire engine to spur career-tech learning in Hillsboro
Photos and Story by James Hill
Liberty High School has its own fire engine thanks to Portland Community College.
PCC’s Fire Protection Technology Program has donated one of its fire engines to Liberty High School (21945 NW Wagon Way) in Hillsboro. The truck will be used by the high school’s Fire Science Program, which is a series of dual credit courses offered through PCC at the school. Sixty-six students in the program will benefit from the hands-on learning.
“We are extremely happy that we have this opportunity to turn over this fire engine for students to use as a learning platform,” said John Saito, dean of Allied Health, Emergency, and Legal Services at PCC’s Cascade Campus. “Fire service is going to get more technical. So, the program provides the necessary skills and knowledge.”
According to Ed Lindsey, PCC’s Fire Protection Tech Program chair, the truck is a 1997 KME fire engine (or pumper) that carries 1,000 gallons of water and can pump up to 1,250 gallons per minute. It has a mid-ship pump and control panel, and is capable of supplying multiple hand lines, stationary hose lines and a deck gun (water cannon). Or in layman’s terms, it’s pretty awesome.
The fire science program at Liberty is part of the college’s Portland Area Career Technical Education Consortium (PACTEC) and Dual Credit programs. PACTEC, which includes 20 high schools in Washington and Columbia counties, supports 72 career and technical education programs in the area. It gives students the opportunity to acquire skills that prepare them for careers, gaining specific skills needed for job-entry positions and build broad, transferable skills. Dual Credit is a program where high school students are given the opportunity to earn college credit through qualified teachers and programs.
The program, which doesn’t charge tuition or fees, saved students’ families about $3,032,688 in PCC tuition and generated approximately 1,010 FTE credits in 2013-14. This year, the college has 6,766 high school students in its Dual Credit Program with 3,838 located in Washington County.
“What we are most excited about is that it provides the most relevant and real world opportunities for students,” said Beth Molenkamp, PACTEC’s regional CTE coordinator and Dual Credit program manager. “It gives students a sense of purpose while helping them to gain skills that are required for their future as employees and contributing members of society. The relevance of these programs comes from teachers having industry experience, and the relationship and support that industry has with the high schools. What we have today is a perfect example of that.”
Lindsey presented Liberty fire science teacher and PCC alum Rodney Linz, who is chief of the Banks Fire Department, with keys and title to the engine during a brief ceremony at the high school on May 1.
“It takes collaboration for us to get here,” said Greg Timmons, Liberty High School principal. “PCC, Hillsboro School District and local fire departments all collaborate together to serve students and get them college and career ready.”