Calvert County Public Schools (CCPS) Career and Technical Education has been awarded a Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Career and Technical Education (CTE) Innovation Grant in the amount of $118,053 to support providing a Virtual Fire Training Program that will enhance the Fire and Rescue Cadet program located at the Career and Technology Academy (CTA).

The funds will be used to purchase a FLAIM Trainer system, which provides virtual reality experiences for students. A simulated firefighting scenario is provided, and students use a specialized virtual reality apparatus to simulate the tools used in controlling and putting out various types of fires. In addition, funds will help to provide additional physical equipment for student practice.

James Richardson, Division Chief of the Calvert County Department of Public Safety supports and is excited to see the addition of the new equipment. “The availability to incorporate the unique innovation of virtual reality training in conjunction with physical props on-site at the CTA will not only afford the students additional safe experience but will better prepare them for success as a firefighter serving their community in a volunteer or career basis.”

CCPS students can participate in the Fire and Rescue program beginning in their junior year. Students complete one year of training in Firefighting and one year of training to certify as Emergency Medical Technicians. Students in the program are required to become active members of a local fire department or rescue squad. The instruction provided in the program is supplied through the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute (MFRI).

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Carrie Akins, Principal at CTA states, “Thanks to the support of so many key community partners, our Fire and Rescue program is already one of the very best in the state of Maryland. It is exciting to be at the forefront of innovation in meeting the unique needs of our high school cadets as we work together to prepare our future first responders who will provide critical support for our community for years to come.”

Enrollment for current 10th-grade students in Calvert County who wish to participate in any of the 13 programs located at CTA is open until February 24, 2022. Students who are interested in signing up to attend a program at CTA can visit to learn more and to submit the required enrollment form. An Open House is also scheduled at CTA on February 17, 2022, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, including students in all grade levels.

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