COQUITLAM, B.C., March 17, 2021 – A dozen Grade 11 and 12 students are finding out what it takes to be a firefighter this spring break in Coquitlam.
The youth are taking part in the third annual Junior Firefighter Program running March 19-26 through a partnership between School District 43 and Coquitlam Fire/Rescue (CFR).
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.
An Immersive Experience
Over the course of eight days, participants take part in a condensed version of the typical eight-week firefighter basic training program at CFR’s Fire Station 1 in City Centre, including:
- Vehicle and equipment familiarization
- Fire extinguishers
- Ladder climbs, high-angle equipment and rappelling
- Scene assessment
- Basic first aid, CPR and use of an automated external defibrillator
- Hose and nozzle drills
- Auto extrication
- Public service
Activities will be conducted with COVID-19 safety protocols in place, and using the same training spaces and equipment used by regular firefighters. Visit www.coquitlam.ca/juniorfirefighter for program details and a video of the program.
Earlier this year application forms were made available to students through School District 43 secondary schools. All participants were required to fill out an in-depth application form, take part in a personal interview and complete a fitness test to ensure they meet the program’s academic and physical requirements.
Including this year’s contingent, 34 youth have participated since the program began in 2019.
Broadening the Recruitment Pool
The Junior Firefighting Program is one of Coquitlam Fire/Rescue’s efforts to showcase the benefits of a firefighting career and to recruit firefighters who reflect the diversity of the community in terms of cultural backgrounds, gender and other identities.
As part of this focus, the department plans to increase recruitment outreach to post-secondary institutions and the community, and continues to evolve its capacity to provide onsite training programs for basic firefighting requirements. Major upgrades to the Fire Station 1 training centre later this year will enhance training opportunities with regional partners and are part of this plan.
For more information about Coquitlam Fire/Rescue activities, visit www.coquitlam.ca/firerescue. The Firefighter Recruitment section provides further information and a video for potential applicants.
In addition to the partnership between Coquitlam Fire/Rescue and School District 43, the 2021 Junior Firefighter program has also received financial support from the following businesses through the City’s Corporate Partners program:
- Associated Fire Safety Group Inc.
- Canstar Restoration GP Inc.
- Commercial Truck Equipment Corp.
- Nucor Environmental Solutions Ltd.
- Team Sales Ltd
- WFR Wholesale Fire Rescue Ltd.
About the Corporate Partners Program
Launched in 2014, Coquitlam's Corporate Partners program builds relationships with the business community and provides revenue to enhance City events, programs and services. Benefits for corporate partners include direct public exposure, a variety of marketing and engagement opportunities, recognition in print and online, and positive relationships with the community. Partnership packages are customized to meet the partner’s needs. For more information, visit www.coquitlam.ca/corporatepartners.
Deputy Fire Chief, Operations
City of Coquitlam