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A dozen teens are learning the ropes this spring break as junior Coquitlam firefighters

SD43 high school students are part of a broadened recruitment process for the city's fourth annual program.

Coquitlam's bravest are taking in some young recruits next week.

For a fourth year, the city's fire rescue department is hosting its spring break junior firefighter program in giving local high school students a hands-on experience with first responders.

From March 11 to 18, about a dozen Grade 11 and 12 students will be testing their skills at operating fire extinguishers and water hoses, conducting ladder climbs and learning basic first aid.

According to deputy fire chief Scott Young, a total of 46 teens have participated in the program at Fire Station 1 since its inception in 2019.

He explains, this year, the department was able to expand its recruitment process in order to reflect its diversity.

"As part of this focus, the department has increased recruitment outreach to the community, and continues to evolve its capacity to provide onsite training programs for basic firefighting requirements," Young adds in a release.

"Major upgrades to the Fire Station 1 training centre will be completed in 2022 enhancing training opportunities with regional partners."

Each applicant had to complete an application form, participate in a one-on-one interview and endure a fitness test.

Young says each activity on the schedule for junior firefighters will be conducted while following COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

"The hands-on program gives youth who are considering their career options a close-up look at the profession of firefighting, including participating in training exercises and experiencing the community goodwill, pride, excitement and camaraderie that come with the job."

Other tasks include:

  • Vehicle and equipment familiarization
  • High-angle equipment and rappelling
  • Scene assessment 
  • CPR and use of an automated external defibrillator
  • Auto extrication
  • Public service

For more information about the program's activities, you're encouraged to visit the Coquitlam Fire Rescue's website.

The eight-day academy is a partnership between the department and School District 43 (SD43).