Bow Island Fire Chief Blaine O’Donnell, Deputy Fire Chief Bill Veilleux, Cpt. Curtis Gouw and Senator Gershaw School principal Scott Angle outside the Bow Island Fire Department. SUBMITTED PHOTO PRAIRIE ROSE SCHOOLS

Prairie Rose Public Schools announced Wednesday its new South Alberta Fire Rescue Academy will begin this fall. The academy program will run in partnership with Bow Island and Cypress County, and firefighter training will be offered to Grade 11 and 12 students.

The academy will be running out of both Senator Gershaw School in Bow Island and Eagle Butte High School in Dunmore. SAFR will be a year-round program integrated into the student’s timetable, with three days of in-class instruction and two days off site. The focus will be on firefighting and rescue training, and over the course of two years students will complete modules toward earning Firefighter 1 and 2 certifications.

For those wishing to pursue firefighting as a career or as a volunteer, the academy will provide the opportunity to gain required skills by the time they graduate high school.

“Prairie Rose is always looking for ways to meet student interests,” says assistant superintendent Boyd Craven. “Firefighter training is one of the things we heard from our communities that there is a need and passion for. Academies like South Alberta Fire Rescue give students the opportunity to learn about something they are excited about, which can further be applied following graduation.”

The academy will work in partnership with local community fire departments, and students will receive training in fire dynamics, hose operations and streams, forceable entry, building materials and structural collapse, technical rescue support and vehicle extraction operation. Bow Island Fire Department and Cypress County Fire Department are the first to come forward to partner with Prairie Rose for SAFR.

“The Bow Island Fire Department is very excited to be part of this new program. We are always looking for new members, and the South Alberta Fire Rescue Academy is a great opportunity to certify new firefighters and hopefully keep them in our rural communities after graduation. Our whole team is looking forward to participating and watching the program grow,” stated Bow Island Fire Chief Blaine O’Donnell.

Final details for SAFR are still being worked out. For students interested, registrations are being accepted for the 2023-24 academic year. Families with questions about the program are encouraged to contact Prairie Rose Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Boyd Craven at 403-527-5516.

By SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Feb 24, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Medicine Hat News   Medicine Hat, Alberta

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