7 new fire recruits in training to join Lethbridge Fire and EMS

Recruits getting hands on training with Lethbridge Fire and EMS. Jordan Prentice

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that trained paramedics will receive firefighter training. 

Intensive training is underway at Lethbridge Fire and EMS, where seven recruits are getting hands-on training in challenges they may encounter on the job.

Thursday’s training had recruits focusing “on their own safety,” which Capt. Sean Larkin says firefighters are responsible for much of the time they find themselves in a hazardous situation.

“Eighty per cent of the time when something goes wrong and we’re trapped inside of a building, it’s us that has to get ourselves out,” said Larkin.

To give them a taste of hazards they may encounter on the job, Thursday’s training saw recruits hanging from the window of a simulated burning building.

Recruits were also shown how to create their own means of escape should they become trapped in a room with no clear exit.

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“If we’re in a room where there’s no window and we’re not able to get through, we’re teaching [the recruits] how to break through the wall and squeeze between the studs into a room that might be a little bit safer,” said Larkin.
Click to play video: 'Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services training 9 new recruits'
Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services training 9 new recruits

Recruit Steven Oleksyn says his passion for the industry sparked during his time as a volunteer firefighter in Coaldale.

“Volunteer experience kind of gave me that window into pursuing [firefighting and EMS] as a career,” said Oleksyn.
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The 12-week course is an integrated program, providing trained paramedics with firefighting training.

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Of the seven recruits, five are already advanced care paramedics and two are primary care paramedics.

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Edmonton Fire aims to recruit more Indigenous people to service through Camp Inspire

Many of the recruits already have an extensive background in EMS training, including Lethbridge local Dorothy Graham, who completed her paramedic training prior to the course.

Graham says so far, she is enjoying the training experience.

“Everyday I’m packed full of knowledge, I’m sore and I’m tired, but this is a dream come true,” said Graham, who has dreamt of a career in firefighting since she was five years old.

“It’s so fun and it’s engaging and challenging.”

The recruits will become official members of Lethbridge Fire and EMS when the course wraps up in July.


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