Travis Peak, Goshen Fire Department

Travis Peak

Division Chief of Education – Goshen Fire Department

Published March 2024

Travis Peak Prepared to Serve, Lead, and Teach

Travis Peak, Division Chief of Education for the Goshen Fire Department, discusses the city’s upcoming Fire and EMS Pathway Program for high school juniors and seniors

Being a firefighter prepares you for a lot of things in life.

Once you’ve dealt with real-life emergencies, you’ll find that those moments sort of transform you. You become someone who can stay calm under pressure; someone with tools in the toolbox for how to handle different situations. You feel prepared, in a lot of ways, to assess things and handle whatever comes your way.

January of 2024 marked 20 years for me with the Goshen Fire Department. I was born and raised in Goshen and I’m a Goshen High School graduate. I didn’t really have any background in this; I had no connection to firefighting, I sort of fell into it. I had some buddies who had gone for it, and they told me someone could have a good life working as a firefighter, and all this time later I really can’t imagine doing anything else with my life.

Preparing for a new challenge

Starting with the 2024-25 school year, I’ll be serving as the lead instructor for the City of Goshen’s new Fire and EMS Pathway Program for high school juniors and seniors. It’s a two-year program, a partnership between the city and Goshen Community Schools, that allows high school students to gain certifications and fulfill all the requisite skills required to be hired as a firefighter or an EMT.

Students who complete the full program will graduate with an associate degree from Ivy Tech, and will be ready to be hired by the Goshen Fire Department to start on their career. We’re currently recruiting and we’ve already had applications come through.

I think it’s going to be a great program because, for one, not everyone is going to go to college. This program gives students who aren’t planning on attending college the opportunity to pursue a well-paying career straight out of high school, and it’s also a great way for the Goshen Fire Department to recruit locally and hire young people from Goshen to be the future, and the future leaders, of the department.

I’ve been an instructor for 12 years, but working with the Pathway Program students will be an adjustment. The program will be housed in the Chandler building, and will be more of a 9-5 schedule than I’ve experienced in the past, but I feel prepared—and more than that, excited—because I know I’ll be helping a lot of kids benefit from a valuable new experience, and possibly help them find a career, and helping the city find a unique way to retain qualified, local recruits.

Pathway Program benefits abound

Aside from learning about the different aspects of being an EMT and a firefighter it’s just a cool life experience that most kids don’t get to have. The program sets the kids on a good, learning path, encourages hard work, and gives them experience using different tools and equipment; they’ll learn to use a chainsaw, how to move a ladder, and use the hose. Even if they don’t decide to pursue the training as a career, they’ll gain a lot of positive experiences from this program.

Goshen Fire Training Facility
Travis Peak
Travis Peak, Goshen Fire Department
Travis Peak, Division Chief of Education, GFD

And if they do pursue the training as a career, they have a chance to gain all the certifications they’ll need to advance and they can set themselves up with a good-paying opportunity with which anyone—especially someone coming straight out of high school—could start building a really nice life.

The program is a great opportunity for the kids, and is also going to help make the future of our department the best it can be. Anytime young, local trainees get a chance to experience our department, train at our facilities, and learn firsthand about our work culture, it’s a great thing. If they join us someday they’ll already know about the high levels of dedication, committment, and unity with which the Goshen Fire Department serves the community.

Putting the wet stuff on the red stuff

The technical training facility at Chandler opens up a lot of avenues for the program. There are similar training programs in the area but transportation for students can be tricky. Having our program based at Chandler makes it very central and accesible to our students, and even allows us the potential down the road to offer EMS and medical training to others in our community—not just high school kids, but the public at-large.

I’ve been leading the department’s Fire Academy for the past five years, but this will be a bit different—our Pathway kids will not be coming in with much experience. Once we get started there will be a bit of a learning curve. We’ll probably start out with a crawl method, so to speak—that’s some firefighter lingo for you—but there is no doubt in my mind that this new program is going to create a lot of positives throughout many different parts of the community.

The Fire and EMS Pathway Program is going to be good for the kids; good for the school system; and good for the city, and I’m really glad to be a part of it. If they had something like this back when I was in high school, I absolutely would have pursued it.

At the end of the day, being a firefighter is about serving and protecting the community by putting the wet stuff on the red stuff. It’s an important job, and there is a lot that goes into it, and the Pathway Program is going to help us make sure we have qualified, young recruits—from right here in Goshen—who have an understanding and a passion for the work, and who are eager for a chance at a good career.

The Fire and EMS Pathway Program for high school students, a partnership between the City of Goshen and Goshen Community Schools, is set to begin for the 2024-25 school year. The program is for high school juniors and seniors and is intended to encourage more young people to become qualified first responders. Click here for more information about the Fire and EMS Pathway Program.

Written by Jake Sandock