The National Volunteer Fire Council’s (NVFC) National Junior Firefighter Program, in partnership with Scott Safety and Tyco International, presented a hands-on National Junior Firefighter Academy on October 8 at the Scott Safety headquarters in Monroe, NC. The Academy consisted of classroom sessions for program advisors and junior firefighters, as well as product demos, a facility tour, and hands-on training drills.
Close to 50 youth and 30 program advisors from as far as Massachusetts attended the Academy. During the classroom sessions in the morning, junior firefighters learned about future paths in the fire service through a presentation and interactive career panel. The panel featured two Scott employees and a local career firefighter, each of whom spoke about how their passion for the fire service had led to their current career. Meanwhile, program advisors learned about serving as a youth mentor, youth safety standards, and grants and fundraising ideas.
After a lunch hosted by the NVFC, youth and their advisors were separated into four groups for hands-on drills:
- Tire Test - Juniors navigated a tire maze while wearing a blacked-out mask to strengthen their skills in search and rescue, blind searching, working as a team, and communications.
- Equipment Donning - Youth raced to see how quickly and accurately they could get into their gear.
- Cone Test - Juniors donned blacked-out face masks and were directed to crawl to a cone 50 feet ahead of them to learn about the importance of using search patterns.
- Thermal Imaging Scavenger Hunt - Using a Scott thermal imager, juniors worked in teams to find a heat source in a dark room.
The Academy provided an excellent opportunity for youth and advisors to share ideas, learn new drills, and make connections with firefighters from other departments. The NVFC thanks Scott Safety for hosting this important training opportunity and all the youth and adult participants who helped make the day a great success. Stay tuned to the National Junior Firefighter Program web site for future training opportunity dates and locations. For information on hosting an Academy at your department or training facility, visit www.nvfc.org/trainingeducation/nvfc-academy-on-site-training/.
The National Junior Firefighter Program serves as an umbrella for junior firefighter programs nationwide to promote youth participation within the fire and emergency services community. In addition, youth can use the program to locate a local junior firefighter program, keep track of their hours of service, and learn what it means to be a firefighter. The National Junior Firefighter Program promotes the future of the fire service by encouraging youth to form a connection with their emergency service department so that hopefully as adults they will either join the fire service or become a community supporter of the fire service. The National Junior Firefighter Program is part of the National Volunteer Fire Council and is supported by Tyco International, Spartan Motors, Inc., and California Casualty. Find out more about the National Junior Firefighter Program at www.nvfc.org/juniors.