Six Lake Country high school students have received a basic firefighter certificate of achievement from the Justice Institute of B.C. (JIBC) after completing the Lake Country Fire Department’s Junior Firefighter Work Experience program.
The students completed over 75 hours of training including working a live fire in the live fire training centre in Vernon, executing a basket rescue, training on the ladder truck, water rescue and an auto extrication.
New this year the students had the option to take a written test from the JIBC and all six students passed the test and will receive a post-secondary certificate from the JIBC in basic firefighting.
It’s the first year the Lake Country junior firefighter program has added the Justice Institute component to the program and deputy fire chief Brent Penner says it gives students something they can take away from the program as they graduate high school.
“It’s such a competitive marketplace for jobs, no matter what career a young person chooses,” said Penner. “These are people within our community and what we are trying to do is give them a leg up when it comes to applying for summer jobs or jobs while they are attending university.”
This year’s junior firefighting program graduates are: Taegan Penner, Ashley Hunchak, Austin White, Akashdeep Brar, Hayley Lussier Edwin Hipsey.
The students began the program in December and held a graduation ceremony last week in Lake Country.
Penner says several of the students are contemplating careers in emergency services and getting the training with the fire department gives them great experience in whatever field they choose.
“They have their whole lives in front of them and this definitely gives them a really good awareness of what’s involved in become a firefighter,” said Penner. “They learn some really good teamwork skills and good communication and things that will follow them through their lives.”
Penner credits the paid on call firefighters within the Lake Country Fire Department for helping to make the program a success. The students trained with a group of regular firefighters, all of whom volunteered their time, allowing the program to be put on with minimal costs.
Leading the instructor team was Eric DeGelder and participating in the instruction were Brady Bloomer, Tyson Attrell, Rylan Carnegie, Pete Whitfield, Cory Drinkwater, Glen Gregory, Robert Lussier, Paul Hipsey and Mike Gesi.
“We couldn’t run something like this without their help,” said Penner. “We were very happy our members stepped up to help the program.”
The junior firefighter program has been running at the LCFD for more than a decade. Students apply for the program through George Elliot school. The program is open to Grade 11 and 12 students.