UC Davis Today: Student firefighters train on the job

Student firefighters aiming a firehose as it shoots water

Learning to fight fires

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Produced by Paul Pfotenhauer and Ken Zukin

Student firefighters train on the job

One of only a few programs of its kind in the country, the UC Davis Student Resident Firefighter program gives students valuable career experience and training while allowing them to pursue their education at the same time. 

In a highly competitive selection process, 15 student firefighters are chosen every two years from a large applicant pool after undergoing a rigorous physical abilities test, an intensive interview process, and completing a firefighting academy. Once chosen, they serve one 24-hour shift, four 14-hour shifts, and two training sessions per month in exchange for housing at Station 34 on campus. Working alongside UC Davis career firefighters, the students are given uniforms, personal protection gear and in-depth training on all types of emergency calls. In winter quarter 2014, the fire department will next accept applications for the program

Many alumni go on to careers as professional firefighters, paramedics and other emergency services officers. Begun in 1955, the Student Resident Firefighter program is a great example of how the university prepares students for real-world success in a wide variety of careers and fields.

From left, student instructors Nick Sowa and Zhicheng Zheng instruct trainees as they work with the 1 3/4" hose during student firefighter training at the UC Davis fire station. Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis photo

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