Close-Up on Parth Shah

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When a student who is interested in the field of medicine has to decide where to do community service, the first choice would not logically be the fire department! But such is the case with senior Parth Shah, and in his case, it is logical.

Parth wanted to do something that was both exciting and helpful to the community. Although volunteering at a hospital has this potential and is what most Bio-Medicine academy students do, he wanted a chance to make difference.

“I actually want to do something in the medical field, but the reason I joined the volunteer fire department was because I want to do something where I can help the community and actually save lives,” Parth Shah explained.

This noble desire to save the lives of people was not something that developed overnight. Although a bit cliché, ever since Parth was young, he wanted to be a hero. He admired the characters in cartoons on T.V. who helped others out of the goodness of their hearts. His dream ever since then was to be like that, a little bit like a hero.

“I know that ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always wanted to be a superhero, saving lives,” Parth remarked nostalgically. “They go around doing, basically, supernatural things, but obviously, we’re not given these capabilities. I figured that being a volunteer firefighter was the closest thing to actually saving lives like that,” he said.

Being a volunteer firefighter seemed like the ideal way to volunteer for a hero-loving boy, but it also seemed like a dangerous one. Volunteer firefighters are usually helpers to the other firefighters; they assist in putting out fires and sometimes aid in the setting of controlled fires to dry, forested areas where wildfires tend to start. Parth is assigned tasks like managing and operating the hoses, “since I’m not 18 yet and there’s a big liability issue,” Parth said, explaining why he could not go inside a burning building.

However, he has geared up inside the firehouse.

“We’ve been inside using our Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) and the tank with the full gear and everything a couple of times but otherwise that, it’s just mainly using the hoses.”

It wasn’t guaranteed that Parth would get to become a firefighter either. Before he could start his experience, there was a long process that he had to go through.

To become a volunteer firefighter, Parth had to send in an application as well as attend several monthly board meetings. Through those meetings, Parth was approved by the Mayor and the Council to serve and complete a training session before he could really call himself a volunteer firefighter.

Parth said that the training was called “Fire School.” At Fire School, Path said he learned about real life situations and “how to do a Search-And-Rescue and use hoses.”

Parth always wanted to be a little bit of a hero, and although he still does not have any super powers, he does know what it feels like to reach a goal.

“I wanted to do the fire department, tried it out, and now I love it,” Parth Shah said, with a noncommittal shrug and little smile.

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