The department's Youth Fire Academy has started off with a busy first week. This year's academy is being held in a new format. The cadets are now in a three week academy, four days a week. This is new from the previous year's two week, five day a week academy. The new format is based on feedback from previous academy cadets who requested more time for learning about the fire department and emergency services.
The cadets started the academy with a "Welcome Party" on Monday morning. They were immediately put into workout close and participated in physical fitness drills under the direction of Lieutenant Costello. After the morning fitness session, the cadets were back in the building for a briefing and tour of the facility. Afterwards they headed outside for apparatus familiarization and a drill on their personal protective equipment. The afternoon consisted of a lecture on Fire Service History, and a second lecture on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA).
Day two had the cadets spending most of their day conducting drills. In the morning they spent more time working with their Personal Protective Equipment and Self Contained Breathing Apparatus. They started with the 60 second drill which focused on putting their PPE on in one minute. This led into the cadets putting their skills to the test in a course that is similar to the same one that the department's firefighters partake in for their yearly SCBA recertification. The cadets spent the afternoon carrying, raising, and climbing ladders. This training was conducted while wearing full PPE.
Wednesday was the first field trip for the academy. The cadets and fire department personnel spent the day in Wildwood, NJ. They worked with the Wildwood Beach Patrol and the Wildwood Fire Department. The crews worked with some of the equipment, and learned some of the tactics that the beach patrol and fire department use during water emergencies.
The cadets spent their final day of the week in the classroom and doing practical evolutions. During the morning session the cadets were certified in BLS CPR, learning how to perform CPR on adults, children, and infants. The training was conducted by members of Willingboro EMS. After lunch the cadets conducted several hoseline evolutions. They connected supply hose from a fire hydrant to an engine, set up leader lines from the engine to a gated wye, and then set up two 1 3/4" hoselines. Once the 1 3/4" hoselines were in service the cadets were show how to advance the lines and operate a nozzle.
The cadets will be equally as busy during week two. They will conduct training on physical and mental health, search techniques, ropes and knots, Rapid Intervention Crews (RIC), and Stop The Bleed. Their field trip for the week will see them teaming up with cadets from the Wildwood Fire Department's Youth Fire Academy. The groups will be traveling to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst to meet with personnel from New Jersey Task Force 1 (NJTF-1). Thursday will be the cadet's Extended Training Day. This day will see the cadets conduct their normal training, plus respond to simulated incidents. Stay tuned to hear about week two.