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Choffin students feel the heat during live burn

Staff photo / R. Michael Semple Firefighter cadet Taniya Wright, foreground, of Youngstown, a student at Choffin Career and Technical Center, helps Nevaeh Williams, 18, of Youngstown and also a Choffin student, suit up for firefighter training at a fixed-burn facility at the Brookfield Fire Department on Friday. Several Mahoning Valley fire departments took part in the training exercises.

BROOKFIELD — For Taniya Wright of Youngstown, Friday was about helping her team.

She was one of four groups at the Brookfield Fire Department participating in a live-burn exercise.

The 18-year-old Youngstown resident attends East High School and Choffin Career and Technical Center, and soon will be graduating with a dream of becoming a police officer.

She still took part in the firefighting track at Choffin, leading her to the exercise Friday.

“I didn’t know I was going to enjoy this program because I wasn’t into firefighting,” Wright said.

There aren’t many women in the first-responder field. But Wright said she can show others what it takes to get the job done.

“I feel like I can be the person to do it. There’s a lot of stuff going on in this world, and people need to feel safe,” she said.

A collaboration among the Western Reserve Joint Fire District, West Point Fire Department Education Division (in Lisbon), Youngstown Fire Department’s training center and Choffin Career and Technical Center made Friday possible, said Lt. Abbie Buday, with WRJFD.

The intent Friday was to qualify the Choffin students for their state certification to become firefighting level IIs, Buday said.

For YFD, instructors were earning certification, and West Point was learning about firefighting rehabilitation (monitoring vital signs), she said, with the Poland crew seizing the opportunity for more training.

Twenty-five people participated in the live burn, which Buday said was held at Brookfield last year. She hopes to make it an annual event, as this was a large local collaboration.

Wright was on hand to help out any way she could, making sure the hoses were functioning and even offering support to her classmates.

“Why wouldn’t I? We’re family in some type of way. I’m here to support” them, Wright said.

Echoing Wright was 20-year-old Dale May of Brookfield, with West Point EMS.

He was part of the EMS class practicing rehabilitation at the fire scene, checking vitals and making sure the firefighters weren’t in distress.

May said he enjoys the classes because of his peers. “We’re all close. We’re all friends…. Trying to help each other out,” he said.

May took a different approach to how he decided to pursue EMS, noting helping people and making a difference played a factor in his decision.

“I thought about what I would do if I hit the lottery tomorrow, and I’d still want to do this,” he said.

afox@vindy.com

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