“Fire department, is anyone in here?” Dulce Antunez called out.
A loud “help!” broke through the thick darkness of the small crawl space as the smell of stale smoke filled the air.
Within a matter of minutes of entering the crawl space — under 2, to be exact — the team of Antunez and Yesina Granda found a trapped victim.
It was an impressive feat, considering both Antunez and Granda aren’t firefighters at all, but juniors at Anaheim High School.
“It’s really cool getting to experience how to actually rescue someone,” Granda said. “I like learning about what the firemen do, things that they have in their trucks, and all the gear that they have to put on.”
A group of 52 Anaheim students ranging from eighth-graders to twelfth-graders gathered Friday, Feb. 14, at the North Net Training Center to participate in the high school boot camp put on by Anaheim Fire & Rescue (AF&R).
“The ultimate goal is to get kids that live in Anaheim or went to schools in Anaheim to become Anaheim public safety employees,” said Rebecca Martinez, the public safety pipeline coordinator at Sycamore Middle School. “We want to create a really good pathway starting at middle school and then leading into high school to get more homegrown fire and policemen and women.”
The four-hour event consisted of breaking the students into groups and rotating them around five different stations set up by the fire department.
At one station, students felt the burn at a physical agility station where they were put though a mini-workout and physical assessment test.
The second station focused on auto extrication. There, students learned about forcible entry into cars and how to cut into cars to rescue someone.
“I’m having a lot of fun and I really appreciate what these people do for us,” Antunez said. “I wanted to be a cop, but now this is really changing my mind. It’s a really cool experience and I’m very happy we got the chance to come here and have this opportunity.”
At the third station, a search prop scenario was set up. This event seemed to be a group favorite.
Students went inside the tower and searched for a victim (played by an AF&R cadet). They crawled around in full gear, in the dark, in teams of two. The only device they had to help locate the victim was a thermal imaging camera.
The fourth station focused on fire hoses. The students got to pull hoses off a fire truck and learn how to pump water.
Finally, at the fifth station, students learned all about the fire engine.
Here a firefighter gave the students general knowledge about the difference between truck companies, engine companies, and all the different types of equipment AF&R has.
“They’re actually experiencing what it’s like to get a job as a firefighter,” AF&R Battalion Chief Brent Faulkner said. “This is kind of an (introduction) for them on what firefighters do, how we do it, the tools as well as what it takes.”
In addition to the boot camp, AF&R employees visit Sycamore Jr. High once a month and work out with the students or give a lecture on a fire-related topic.