Ankeny Students Learn What it Takes to be a Paramedic and Firefighter

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ANKENY, Iowa – Ankeny Community Schools and its local Fire Department are teaming up to teach students about different career paths.

The idea came up in a new district program called “Orbis.”

Ankeny Schools’ Orbis Project Manager Chad Brooks said the program allows students to engage in authentic projects that have an impact on the community.

“We’ve seen in Orbis as we get students out of the traditional classroom and engaging with the workforce. They really catch a vision of what’s to come for them,” Brooks said.

Seven students in Orbis wanted to bring the Ankeny Fire Department to school so students can explore different career paths.

Ankeny High School Junior Zach Olson is one of the seven students in the program. Olson said, “I feel like a lot of people have a preconceived notion that the fire department isn’t a real career. I think having them here is really going to help change that. That it really is a life-long career that can be really fulfilling for people.”

For two days the Ankeny Fire Department came and taught each physical education class different skills needed to be either a paramedic or fire fighter.

Ankeny Fire Department Education Coordinator Karen Peters said some of the skills taught include wearing 60-pound of gear, carrying a high-rise pack, pulling a hose, EMS tasks and more.

“All they know is what they see on TV from different shows and that is not always reality. They need to know the physical skills that are involved. They need to know the teamwork that’s involved, the communication that’s involved and knowing those skills they will see is this something that I would be a good fit for,” Peters said.

Peters said multiple students have asked to do a ride-a-long program.

“People that are interested can come and observe and ride along for a day to see that this is a career that interests them,” Peters said.

This is the first year the department partnered with the school district.


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