Pincher Creek Emergency Services is offering students in grades 10 and up the opportunity to begin pursuing a career in emergency services through its junior firefighting program.
Students work toward acquiring their National Fire Protection Association 1001 Level 1 and 2 certifications, which identify the minimum job performance requirements for firefighters.
They are also educated in hazardous-materials operations, designed to teach future first responders how to handle such materials and weapons of mass destruction.
“We are hoping to offer students interested in emergency services a chance to try it before investing their time and money,” says Lt. Matthew Peterson of PCES.
“This program, along with some real-life experience on calls, will offer students an advantage in the job market.”
Students attend practices every second and fourth Thursday of the month, from 7 to 9 p.m.. The curriculum features a mix of both theoretical and practical learning, with most sessions taking place at the Pincher Creek fire hall.
Students will join the rest of the department to learn firefighting theory, which is everything from fire behaviour to building construction. They also learn the necessary hands-on skills required to tend to an emergency situation.
According to Matthew, while the majority of instruction and testing will be held in Pincher Creek, there will be the odd trip to “burn houses” out of town to practice live scenarios.
Students are not expected to finish the program by a set date. They can take three years if they prefer to take their time, or the department can assist older students in fast-tracking their way toward obtaining their certifications, which is more intense.
The department is still working out the cost for a student to take the program, but Matthew suspects parents may only need to cover the $150 textbook fee. He adds that if a student really wants to participate but can’t because of cost, the department will look to find a way to make it work.
While no start date for the program has been released yet, Matthew will be visiting Matthew Halton High School, St. Michael’s School and Livingstone School to gauge student interest.
For more information about the program or to schedule an orientation session, contact Matthew at 403-563-9197. Students will have to attend an orientation session with a parent or legal guardian to go over expectations and learn more about the courses.