The Crestone Eagle • December, 2020

Crestone Charter School Junior Firefighting Program

by Rachelle Wilson

This year, Charter School High School, better known as LINK, has an exciting new mentorship program. They have partnered with the Baca Fire Department to begin a Junior Firefighting Program. This is an exciting opportunity for students and community members alike! This program gives students post-secondary skills that they can take out into the world. Additionally, the program provides students with the opportunity to give back to their community.

Over the past years, the LINK students have participated in various certification trainings, included Wilderness First Responder Training, and 130/190 Basic Wildland Fire Training. This year, because of COVID, the students will miss out on their certification trip. This gives students the opportunity to participate in training that could eventually lead to a post-secondary career. Furthermore, it helps the community as well by developing possible future talent—engine bosses, medics, safety officers, etc.

While this is the first semester for the mentorship program, and we are still in the middle of a global pandemic, the students have already had the opportunity to learn some really neat things! The first couple of classes were spent focusing on the most basic and important skills to remember in emergency services—situational awareness, safety hazards, and the eighteen watch-outs for firefighters. After getting the safety basics down, students were assigned their own set of bunker gear, and got to start learning the different rigs. They’re currently working on how to roll out hoses, pump water, and engineer the water on the various trucks.

This mentorship is not only a practical one for students, and service to the community, it is also a welcome change during a strange and uncertain time in education. This provides students with a safe, yet hands-on experience. It’s also giving them the opportunity to still learn essential skills outside of the classroom.