Fire cadets gain valuable experience

Central Alberta fire cadets graduated from program last week

By Emily Rogers

Red Deer Express

The Penhold Crossing High School hosted a celebration for their fire cadet graduates last week.

The Fire Cadet program is a fully certified fire-training program, which is now in its third year. The program takes students from Grades 10 to 12 and teaches them what first responders do, what practices that they do, and gives the students experience working in emergency situations. All previous graduates have became members of the Penhold Volunteer Fire Department.

Graduate of the program, Ryan Clarke said he had a great experience working alongside the community’s first responders. Clarke is now prepared to go back to school to begin Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) training, and work his way up to becoming a paramedic in the future.

Mayor of Penhold Dennis Cooper said the Fire Cadet program is unique as there isn’t a program like it in Red Deer. It’s given the cadets an opportunity to experience what being a firefighter is like. The graduates have been out on calls, and have helped the community during emergency events, such as the severe windstorm last week. “It’s a one and only program, we’re really quite happy about it,” Cooper said.

Former fire cadet graduate and current Penhold firefighter Nicole Thomson said, “Becoming a fire cadet was the biggest opportunity I’ve ever had. It made me aware of an exciting career path, and gave me the skills to be successful in life.”

While Penhold Fire Chief Jim Pendergast added, “Our firefighters have embraced this program and it has provided a steady influx of trained and dedicated volunteers to the department.”

Jamie Jaques, senior manager at ATCO Gas Distribution in the Red Deer region added, “Cadet Class of 2017, you should be especially proud of your accomplishments, your character, commitment, and personal development sets you apart from many of your peers outside of this program.”