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Ill. teens get a hands-on introduction to firefighting

Rockford firefighters and the Illinois Fire Service Institute joined together to create a skills event for fire department cadets

By Bill Carey

ROCKFORD, Ill. — Teenagers aged 15 to 19 gathered at Rockford Fire Station 6 and the Training Academy to learn the basics of becoming a firefighter.

The Rockford Fire Department and the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) partnered to offer a condensed version of the IFSI Cornerstone Training program on May 11, WIFR reported.

“This is just a taste of the things that we do on an everyday basis,” Rockford Fire Department Recruiter, Bo Chaney said. “In Rockford, we run a little bit different. When we have our meetings on Monday nights, and for the first 30 minutes we do mentoring. So we are adding a little bit of that into this, then they will do all the fire skills that we do.”

Participants learned teamwork and leadership while using hoses, how to use self-contained breathing apparatus and hand tools, how to learn fire behavior, handling ladders and search and rescue drills.

“Every time I come I gain a whole new perspective on the fire service,” Field Training Day Cadet Leo Lara said. “There is so much you can learn, so much that can change just in certain situations. It just really gives me the upper edge and hopefully, I can better the fire service in my generation.”