Students test a firefighting career

Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service has been taking 12 local teens through the paces of its Secondary Fire Academy.

Colton Bergman of Robert Bateman Secondary gets a helping hand as he tests his ladder skills during the Secondary Fire Academy currently being held by Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service.

Colton Bergman of Robert Bateman Secondary gets a helping hand as he tests his ladder skills during the Secondary Fire Academy currently being held by Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service.

Twelve Abbotsford teens have been learning the ropes – literally – of what it takes to become a firefighter.

The group of 10 boys and two girls began training in April in the Secondary Fire Academy, hosted by Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service (AFRS). They will graduate from the academy on May 8.

Their classroom and hands-on learning includes rope and knot tying, auto extrication, the use of self-contained breathing apparatus, fire hose use, search and rescue techniques, driving, and live fire training.

AFRS Lt. Ted Main of the fire prevention division said the concept is to give the Grade 11 and 12 students – who must go through an application process to be accepted – an idea of what a firefighting career entails.

Some realize that the field is not something they want to pursue, while others go on to become auxiliary or career firefighters – many with AFRS.

Several, like 17-year-old Bryce Wiebe of Abbotsford Collegiate, have firefighting in their blood.

His dad, Pat, has been a firefighter for more than 25 years, most of them with AFRS.

Bryce, who is in Grade 11, is seriously considering the same career and thought joining the Secondary Fire Academy would be a great start.

“I wanted to see what it (firefighting) is all about because my dad loves it,” he said.

Bryce said he has especially enjoyed learning how to drive a fire truck.

Since first offering the program in 1998, AFRS has put almost 170 kids through the academy.

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