University News

"Day in the Life" of a Firefighter 10/5

October 1, 2013

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MACOMB, IL -- To pay tribute to rescue personnel and to give individuals a first-hand look at what it takes to be a firefighter, the Western Illinois University Fire Protection Studies Club will host a variety of hands-on fire protection-related activities Saturday, Oct. 5.

Beginning at 1 p.m. in Thompson Hall, the club will demonstrate proper fire extinguisher use using live fire scenarios and will provide CPR and Heimlich demonstrations, and will host six activities related to the day-to-day responsibilities of firefighters. Many of the members of WIU's club are current or former firefighters.

Participants can try on "bunker" pants, a helmet and fire coat and attempt to run up five flights of stairs; carry a fire hose load up four flights, followed by a tool bag and a medical bag. Individuals wishing to participate in these hands-on activities must wear tennis shoes or other closed toe shoes (no sandals).

"We really want to show the general public the rigors and challenges faced by firefighters every day in their job," said Walter Kirkland, a senior emergency management major from Brimfield and club event committee chair. "Like many other rescue personnel, firefighters must be physically able to handle any situation at any given time."

The program is open free to the public. For more information, contact Kirkland at

For nearly 34 years, Western has offered educational opportunities to firefighters from across the United States, first with its Open Learning Fire Services program in 1979 designed solely for fire professionals and later with distance learning degree and certification opportunities in fire administration. Beginning in this fall, the University began offering its first bachelor's degree in fire protection.

For more information on the bachelor's degree or one of the fire protection minors, contact the School of LEJA at (309) 298-1038 or visit

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations