HERMON (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- For most college students, back to school means moving into dorms and hanging out with friends, but for 12 Eastern Maine Fire Science students they're moving to a fire house.
Fire Science students are given the opportunity to apply and interview for a spot at a fire house. If accepted, they are assigned a fire house in Holden, Herman, Veazie, Hampden or Newport where they live for two years.
They then become on call firefighters for nights and weekends which means they're using what they learn in the classroom, on calls.
"In everyday life I'm doing something here to better my skills and learn something. I can take something that I'm learning in class today and use it tonight on a call. In a normal college experience, yeah I may get that degree but I'm not using it everyday." Second year student, Kevin Boudreau said.
"They have a regular college schedule just as any student would," Hermon Fire Chief Frank Roma said, "but when they're not in school and not studying, they're doing duties here at the fire station."
The live in program is a lot of work but first year student, Devin Plant says it builds character, "You're running from 3:40 in the morning to 1:00 then you have classes from 11 to 8:50 at night then you have to come back and there's hose to roll and hose to wash so it gets tiring," he said.
Eastern Maine isn't the only program in the state that offers the live in program. Southern Maine Community College does too.
The EMCC program began in 2013 but before that, Southern Maine had students in Penobscot County doing the live in program. The degrees for these students still came from Southern Maine but students served the Greater Bangor area.
The focus for both programs is to produce great firefighters. But the live in program provides more than that.
"I hope they've learned what it is to be a part of something bigger than yourself. I hope they've learned what it means to be a part of the fire service," Roma said.
Part of the service, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.