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Embly climbing firefighting ladder

July 11, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

FUNKSTOWN - Unlike many 16-year-olds, Trent Embly is not taking it easy this summer.

"I want to help people," Trent said as he sat in the meeting room at the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co., where he is a probationary member.

"I'll be a probationary member until I'm 18," said Trent, who will be a sophomore at South Hagerstown High School this fall. "We train here at Funkstown and at the nearby (Hagerstown Fire Department) training center."

Trent said the movie "Ladder 49" got him interested in becoming a firefighter.

"My stepfather was a firefighter, too," Trent said of Jess Higgins.

He said he also has read a lot of newspaper stories and seen other movies about firefighting.

So far, Trent said he has learned how to lay out hoses, perform the fireman's carry for victims, identify all of the equipment on the engines, and how to put on and wear his turnout gear properly.

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But Trent doesn't just stop with firefighting in his quest to help people. He also has done volunteer work at Avalon Manor.

In his spare time, Trent is a part-time inserter at The Herald-Mail Co., where his grandfather, John Black, also is employed.

But Trent's heart is with the fire company.

Funkstown Fire Chief Paul Hottinger said Trent is one of five probationary members of his fire department.

"They have to be at least 16 in order to take the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute (MFRI) training, and have their parents' signatures," Hottinger said.

Hottinger said there is a curriculum at Washington County Technical High School through which prospective firefighters can receive their training while going to school.

"I plan to keep up," Trent said, hinting that he might want to make firefighting a career someday. "I can go on calls after completing Firefighter I in August in classes in Williamsport."

That good feeling was rubbing off on Trent's friend, Patrick Payne, who also will be a sophomore at South High this fall.

Patrick, 15, said he is hoping to become a probationary member at Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. when he turns 16.

Trent said he isn't naive about the dangers of being a firefighter, adding that he got some good advice about that from a pro.

"We were told to always pray when you get on the firetruck because you might not come back," Trent said.

Trent is the son of Dawn Higgins and Dennis Embly. He and his mother live in Funkstown.

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