Five Ashtabula County fire departments run youth programs to teach firefighting skills and also develop a sense of responsibility, said area youth leaders.

Geneva, Andover, Sheffield, Rome and Plymouth fire departments all operate youth programs, several are run through the Explorer program of the Boy Scouts of American.

Some of the groups meet bi-weekly with youth leaders designated to assist the youth learning firefighting from beginning to end. Others join regular fire department members at weekly training sessions.

Fire chiefs around the county said the program helps young people decide whether they would like to become members of departments. Several said the skills learned can also be transferred to the military or full-time professional departments.

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