Beyond Dress Up: Vocational Training at Boys RepublicDec 31, 2015 -
Chino Valley Fire District exposes students to the firefighting profession.
A construction worker’s durable boots and hard hat. A firefighter’s plastic coat and red helmet. These are the articles that make up the costumes of children’s heroes. While most kids dress up as their heroes, many youngsters at Boys Republic haven’t had that opportunity. Since most of the teens come from impoverished backgrounds, they’ve lacked the means to purchase play clothes and even the guidance to have positive role models to emulate.
On September 19, disadvantaged teens tried on a role model’s uniform and learned several of the role model’s skills. Captain Dave Williams of the Chino Valley Fire District invited the students to the Chino Hills regional training facility. There, the teenagers participated in the Chino Valley Boys Republic Junior Firefighter Program, which introduced them to a potential career in firefighting.
Students first filed into a classroom to discover vocational programs in the field. Captain Williams introduced students to the local Explorer program, EMT school, and Paramedic school—all options open to young students eager to learn. They also learned about local college courses available in their home communities, including programs in Fire Science at Mount San Antonio College and Rio Hondo College.
Then students ventured out of the classroom and into the training field. Pulling on coats, gloves, hats and goggles, they prepared to practice a firefighter’s routine duties. Under careful adult supervision, the students were shown how to handle four types of bulky fire extinguishers efficiently. Each boy then eagerly awaited his turn to use each extinguisher on the crackling flames of a controlled panfire.
Next, the teenagers learned how to rescue victims from a simulated automobile accident. Taking turns manipulating the massive Jaws of Life, glass breakers, and giant cutters, the students worked in pairs carefully wielding the tools. They patiently removed glass debris to safely rescue the dummy victims trapped in the car.
As the students finished with a tour of the training facility and firehouse, they explored the spaces where they’d live and train if they decide to pursue a career in firefighting. That the teens can make such decisions was a realization made possible by Captain Williams and his colleagues. The Chino Valley Fire District’s professionals gave the students access to not only try on a firefighter’s uniform, but learn the resources and skills needed to enter the field.