Rutland Senior Secondary students attended a six week program to learn about becoming rookie firefighters, contributed

Kelowna students learn how to be rookie firefighters

The Joe Rich fire department hosted a six week program for students

High school students suited up as rookie firefighters to catch a glimpse into the life of a firefighter.

Grade 11 students at Rutland Senior Secondary School were apart of the first “RSS Firefighting Class’ held by the Joe Rich Fire Department and Regional District of Central Okanagan.

Related: Firefighters pool their paycheques in Joe Rich for a fire engine

The rigorous program that was held over six weeks, the students who completed the program received certificates in Emergency Scene Traffic, BC Forestry Basic Wildland Firefighting and Forest Fire Suppression and Safety (Forestry s185/s100) and WHIMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System). Instruction included classroom time as well as practical experience by participating in Emergency Medical Responder/First Responder training, live fire training at Big White and an abundance of other useful skills. The students also provided the Joe Rich Fire Department with maintenance around the hall and equipment including truck checks and cleaning.

Related: Home sweet home for Okanagan College trades students

The goal of the program is to provide valuable work experience and possible work opportunities to participating high school students.

Joe Rich Fire Chief Ben Wasyliuk says the program provided these students with valuable skills that will hopefully be utilized down the road in either paid-on-call or full-time firefighting or other emergency services.

“We have received really great feedback,” Chief Wasyliuk said. “It was a really good fit for both the students and there were several kids from Joe Rich there, it’s a good career opportunity for us and we hope they can become a part of our department in the future.”

Related: Kelowna hosts firefighters training program

The work experience program was taught by Rutland Senior Secondary teacher Aaron Volk, who is also a Captain with Joe Rich Fire and Primary Care Paramedic.

The Joe Rich fire department plans on holding another program next year.

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