On Thursday, Indigenous youth from across Canada joined Port Alberni Fire Department firefighters at the fire hall and put their knowledge—and muscles—to the test.
As part of the Gathering Our Voices Youth Leadership Training in Port Alberni, 40 participants were invited to the fire hall to learn about the principles of fire response and the importance of fire safety.
The educational opportunity was held by the Port Alberni Fire Department, in coordination with the First Nations Emergency Services Society, which has been collaborating with municipal fire departments across Canada for the last four years.
The goal of the program is to bring practical fire safety skills and training to Indigenous youth, said Curtis Dick, fire services officer with the First Nations Emergency Services Society.
“This is our third or fourth year running with [Gathering Our Voices],” he added. “It’s really popular. It’s good for the kids and it’s good for our firefighters.”
Participants rotated through four stations on Thursday, focusing on wildfire protection and home fire safety, working with fire hoses and moving a rescue dummy. Port Alberni firefighters were on hand at each station to give demonstrations and lend a helping hand.
“They’re getting the basics of firefighting and fire safety today,” said Dick. “It’s an opportunity for them to see what a functioning fire department in Canada looks like.”