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Junior Firefighter Academy teaches Dubuque kids ins and outs of the job

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On a sunny Tuesday morning, a different looking crew is busy pulling hoses from a fire truck.

It's a group of 6-8th graders who are taking part in the annual Junior Firefighter Academy.

The program's aim is to give kids an up close and personal look at what firefighters do.

They also get to participate in these activities firsthand, including shooting water from the hose.

"It's always pretty impressive for the kids to see the amount of water and amount of force that the hose pushes back when you're shooting water, that's probably the  most impressive. But yeah, to see the smiles on their faces, and they're challenging themselves to do something they haven't done, it's pretty satisfying," said Assistant Fire Marshal Mike McMahon.

11-year-old August Christensen says the highlight of her day was getting to man the hose as they shot water out of the top of the training center in Dubuque.

"It's really warm out, so you get a little mist, but it's also a lot of fun," she said.

The academy is broken into four parts spread over a couple of weeks, and gives kids a chance to see just about every aspect of what being a firefighter means.

It's also used as a recruiting tool.

"I wasn't sure what I wanted to do at that age, and this might give them an opportunity to decide what they want to do when they're older. And either it might be for them or it might not, but at least they'll have that option to make that decision," said McMahon.

Christensen says her future as a firefighter is still up in the air.

"My mom can picture me being a firefighter, but I'm not sure if I want to be one. It seems like a lot of fun, but it seems like a lot of work," she said.

There's just one session left in this year's academy, and it required sign up to participate.

But if you're interested, McMahon says they do sign up every spring. Contact Leisure Services for more details about when and where to sign up.

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