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Southern Gulf Islands and southern Vancouver Island youth receiving fire and rescue training

Over 40 firefighters and mentors are volunteering for the camp
The Gulf Islands Fire Rescue Cadet Camp includes instruction in auto extrication. (Courtesy Greg Hankins)

Youth from southern Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands are receiving hands-on fire and rescue training this week.

Pender Island Fire Rescue, Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue and other emergency response partners, including the BC Ambulance Service and RCMP, are training 16 students from Monday (March 20) until Saturday.

The Gulf Islands Fire Rescue Cadet Camp is being held at Fire Hall #1 on Pender Island and features more than 100 hours of training including instruction in auto extrication, high-angle rope rescues, medical first response, structure fires and search and rescue. Over 40 firefighters and mentors are volunteering for a total of over 2,500 hours for the camp.

“Our community-based Gulf Island Fire Department provides youth from across the Capital Region with essential life skills that will serve them well for the rest of their lives,” said Pender Island Fire Chief Mike Dine, who developed the concept for the camp. “In just one week, there is an amazing transformation in our cadets as they see the value of community service, teamwork and leadership skills, while learning through first-hand experiences.”

The cadets will get to train on a Canadian Coast Guard hovercraft, a Royal Canadian Air Force CH-148 Cyclone helicopter and RCMP vessels.

The camp first took place in 2005 and multiple graduates have become accredited firefighters and first responders and some will be instructors this week.

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