The Russellville Fire Department (RFD) showcases their support for local schools by holding the Russellville Junior Firefighter Challenge (RJFC). The RJFC, which is a partnership with Russellville School District, aims to promote community involvement, build positive community relationships, support physical fitness, and simulate the challenges firefighters experience.
The RJFC is held annually during the month of October, which is also National Fire Prevention Awareness month. Students in grades third and fourth from RSD, St. John Catholic School, and
Community Christian School compete at their school in a course similar to what RFD candidates experience, except on a smaller scale. Each student, outfitted in “turn out gear,” competes on a course consisting carrying a load of fire hose, crawling through a tunnel, working the miniature Keiser Force Machine with a mallet, advancing with a 1” wildland fire line with an authentic nozzle and striking a target, and finally rescuing an appropriately sized mannequin.
Students who participate in the course are selected by their P.E. teachers, and up to 80 students from each RSD elementary school run the course while their whole school cheers them on. Not only do the students get to participate in a fun, physical course, but they
were also able to interact with members of the RFD on an individual level.
The top three male and female students from each grade level and school go on to compete at the culminating championship event at the Downtown Fall Festival. After each finalist runs the course, the top three male and female students from each grade are named the Fall Festival Medal winners. The Russellville elementary school with the fastest average time of its Fall Festival competitors is also awarded the traveling School of Champions trophy.
“The RJFC is a great opportunity for our students to participate in. When members of the RFD met with me to discuss the program, I immediately saw that this would be a great partnership and would have a positive impact on our students.”
- Dr. Mark Gotcher, Former Russellville School District Superintendent
Local sponsors partner with the program to make the event a success.