Student firefighter commits to public service


Junior Briley Houston dressed in his uniform

Kelee Mills, Staff Writer

Firefighting is a career for some people, and it is a dangerous career at that. But for junior Briley Houston, it is an opportunity.  Houston is a student firefighter for the Carrier Mills Fire Department. Being a junior firefighter has helped Houston tremendously. 

“Being a junior firefighter is probably the best decision I have ever made,” Houston said. “It is a great learning experience and a great way to get my foot in the door.”

The junior firefighters don’t really get to do everything an actual firefighter gets to do for safety reasons. 

“I am not able to go into a structure fire or throw myself into any situation that would require a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA),” Houston said. 

As a junior member of the department, Houston may not get to do as much as other firefighters get to do, but he still gets to operate equipment. 

“I am able to do quite a bit,” Houston said. “I can operate a small fire hose. I help on the pumps and also help on traffic. There are indeed restrictions on what I can do, but that’s fine and I will take what I can get.”

Unlike other firefighters, Houston doesn’t get to respond to calls during the day because he cannot leave school for his fire calls. But before school and after school, he responds just like everyone else.

¨Being a junior is seven days a week,” Houston said. “I am able to respond to calls anytime from six in the morning until ten at night. I can go to calls up to eleven on weekends.” 

Sometimes Houston may be working on homework when he gets a call, but it’s nothing he can’t come back and finish later. 

“I wouldn’t say it’s hard to balance firefighting and school,” Houston said. “There have been multiple times when we’ve got a call as I was working on homework, but it’s nothing I can’t finish when I get back home.”

Houston encourages others with a similar interest to reach out to their local fire departments.

“I became a junior firefighter by showing interest in the topic and reaching out to the chief. The chief was happy to help me and get me in the department,” Houston said. 


Briley Houston in his work uniform.
Briley Houston in his work uniform.