BEGA High School students have completed basic Rural Fire Service (RFS) training that aimed to encourage youth involvement in the local fire brigades.
A presentation on Wednesday marked the end of the 10-week RFS Cadet Program, in which 18 Year 10 students took part
Instead of doing school sport, the students completed an abridged version of the training course required to join the RFS.
Activities built such skills as basic firefighting, first aid, fire safety, radio communication and teamwork.
It is the first program of its kind run at Bega High, and another is run at Lumen Christi, while the South Coast Anglican College is interested in starting it.
RFS tutors were captain of the Tarraganda brigade Peter van Bracht, member of Numbugga brigade Peter Jackson and member of Tathra brigade and school program coordinator Lance Hartley.
Mr van Bracht said the kids were a great group who enjoyed the experience.
“They love it,” he said.
“The moment they saw the yellows and put them on, they were sold.
“Hopefully some will go back and join their local fire brigade.”
He said the RFS needs more members, especially younger ones as one of the biggest injuries on the job is a heart attack.
“One of the key problems down here is that kids who do get involved eventually go to university and leave the area,” Mr van Bracht said.
At the presentation ceremony, the cadets first demonstrated their firefighting skills to a crowd of parents, students and visiting dignitaries.
Bega Valley Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA) branch chairman Jason Lewington congratulated the cadets and thanked the school for running the program.
“The inception of the cadets program at Bega High was driven as an initiative of the Bega Valley RFSA branch, following a speech by Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons at the Mudgee Conference last year, calling on RFSA branches to work towards increasing youth and female participation rates within the RFS,” he said.
Member for Eden-Monaro Peter Hendy, who attended the presentation, also congratulated the students on completing the course.
“It is a real credit to the Bega High School students that they participated in the program,” he said.
“As a federal member, these services are vital for the future of the community, as volunteerism is the lifeblood of their community.”
Cadets grow closer through fire training
YEAR 10 students from Bega High School who completed the Rural Fire Service (RFS) Cadet Program on Wednesday said the course had been great.
RFS cadets Nic Leslaighter, Buddy Gottaas, Annie Fitzer and Carmen MacGregor agreed the experience had been “lots of fun”.
“I enjoyed working with everyone,” Carmen said.
“I feel like I’ve gotten closer to my fellow peers.”
They were all considering joining the RFS after completing the course.
“It was good to see what was included in the fire brigade,” Buddy said.
Their favourite activity was the fire over run, which involved the cadets removing fuel on the fire truck, boarding the truck lowering the curtains, getting under the blankets and turning on the sprays.
It aims to teach that if a fire turns on them, a safe place to go is the truck.