KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — Every afternoon at 1:30 p.m., Dobyns-Bennett High School senior Steven Lane commutes to Warrior’s Path Volunteer Fire Department for his “fourth period”.

Lane, who has earned the rank of junior firefighter, is one of the first few students in DB’s fire science program to be placed in a department as part of the school’s work-based learning program.

“It definitely opens up a new book,” Lane told News Channel 11. “When I learned it [in class], I learned about what chemicals it [fire] was, and then, once I actually go do it, I’m learning like how it can affect me. “

Fire science teacher Bryan Kerns said the program evolved out of a wildland fire training club he founded in 2018. Kerns began teaching fire science courses the next year.

“As that program developed, I thought the culminating capstone experience would be students learn about this stuff in my classroom and then get them out there doing it, get them on the trucks,” said Kerns.

He said placements like Lane’s are critical for helping students consider their future.

“You’ve got this 30-year projected career plan, let’s go try it out first,” said Kerns. “To be able to try your career out before you actually head down that path is invaluable. “

For Lane, the program has allowed him to work fighting fires and to prepare to enter the job market ahead of his peers.

“With me taking all these courses, it puts me at the top, knowing what to do, how to do it and get it done,” said Lane.

Lane graduates in May and hopes to work with Sullivan County’s emergency services.