A spark of an idea that helped create a new program partnership between Saskatoon Public Schools and the Saskatoon Fire Department was recognized during the annual Badge, Shield, and Star Citizen Awards held April 12.
Saskatoon Public Schools' staff members Dean Brooman and Diane Newton of Bedford Road Collegiate, Jeff Kenney of Mount Royal Collegiate and Lori Carter of Tommy Douglas Collegiate received the Shield Award from the fire department in recognition of their support of the Fire Introduction Recruitment Experience (FIRE) Cadet Program. Also recognized was Gerald Lashyn of Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools.
The recipients of the Shield Award were recognized for their important role in identifying and encouraging students who would benefit from the program and in helping students overcome the obstacles and challenges that inevitably pop up during the course of the experience.
"We have seen each one go the extra mile and know that our program would not be the success it is today without their hard work and support," according to a news release from the Saskatoon Fire Department.
The program originated several years ago after a suggestion by Brooman that the fire department should have a program that gave high school aged students an opportunity to experience what a career in firefighting might involve. The idea was shaped, support was garnered and a pilot program ran in 2015 involving students from Bedford Road and Mount Royal. The program expanded to add Tommy Douglas and E.D. Feehan Catholic High School in 2016.
Now in its third year of operation, the FIRE Cadet program is available to Grade 11 and 12 students who are enrolled in a Career and Work Explorations program during the second semester of the school year at Bedford Road, Mount Royal and Tommy Douglas collegiates. It provides the 50 to 60 hours of practical experience through a work placement that students require In addition to the in-classroom component in order to complete their credit.
The program includes three training sessions per week during the course of an eight-week period. It provides the cadets with hands-on opportunities to learn a range of firefighting and emergency services skills including CPR accreditation, vehicle extrication, operation of hoses and hydrants, use of ladders and aerial apparatus, search and rescue, water rescue and forcible entry.
Visit saskatoonpublicschools.ca to read more about the FIRE Cadet program and its impact on students who were part of the 2016 graduating class.