Lake Country, BC  Senior students from throughout the Okanagan spend a week of spring break on first response skills training


The Lake Country Fire Department coordinated a Junior Firefighter Bootcamp for senior high school students throughout the region during the first week of spring break.  Grade 11 and 12 students from George Elliot, Mount Boucherie, Immaculata, Rutland and Vernon Secondary schools were immersed in what it is like to be a firefighter as part of a team of skilled first responders.


Day one students picked up their t-shirts and started with an intro to Fire Services Academy. First aid and basic life support including AED and Red Cross CPR training were a focus during day two, followed by personal protective equipment (PPE), self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), firefighter skills and drills, auto extrication, and aerial apparatus experience. They even participated in lunch prep during the course.  


“I really liked learning the rope tying knots and was a little scared of the SCBA breathing equipment and the ladder truck,” said Marixa. “But we were given intense safety briefings and the instructors walked us through everything step by step. I connected with the firefighters and the other students in the program. It was a great experience.”


“This kind of training is part of our community involvement,” said Deputy Fire Chief Kynan O’Rourke. “Not only does it give senior high school students some exposure to firefighter skills so they may decide to go on to a career in first response (and maybe a new crew of recruits for us in Lake Country), but it sharpens our members’ training and leadership skills.”


First year Firefighter Rayman Bassi was the lead for organizing with the Careers department of GESS. Firefighter Bassi was tasked with putting together the group of instructors, developing the lesson plans, coordinating with staff, while keeping the program on pace for the week-long drills and exercises.


Taking time away from his own schooling as a third-year electrical apprentice. Bassi states: “I was a driven high school student that played high level sports and didn’t have an understanding of the fire services when I got out of high school, a program like this would have been beneficial for me.” As a key takeaway for this group of students Bassi says: “This is adult learning in a professional environment; this type of training will kickstart them after high school!”

Firefighter Tom Clements, Firefighter/Paramedic Madi Maki, Firefighter Kyle Lehmann, and probationary Firefighter Ajay Weintz supported the event and offered training, advice and mentorship for the group of young learners.


The Junior Firefighters completed the week of study, physical fitness, firefighter skills training based on the Jones and Bartlett syllabus, and took home a CPR and AED basic life support certificate, a Chiefs’ letter thanking them for their time towards the program as well as new friendships established on the kind of teamwork and trust required in the fire service.


Deputy Fire Chief Kynan O’Rourke would like to thank the careers department of GESS for the collaboration with the other schools in the valley and would like to see a continuation of this event for next year.


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For more information contact:

Kynan O’Rourke, Deputy Fire Chief 

Lake Country Fire Department  



Download a pdf of the News Release complete with images throughout the training


2024 Junior Firefighter stand by Ladder Truck for group photo