Queanbeyan High School students graduate from Rural Fire Service cadetship

Rural Fire Service cadets demonstrate how to save a casualty from a burning vehicle. Photo: Elliot Williams
Rural Fire Service cadets demonstrate how to save a casualty from a burning vehicle. Photo: Elliot Williams

Caught in a burning building? It might be a bunch of high school students coming to the rescue.

A group of Queanbeyan High School students graduated from the Rural Fire Service cadet program on Friday.

The group, consisting of year nine students, spent the week being trained by the Ridgeway Fire Brigade in all manner of emergency service protocols.

The students began with theory before moving into practical training in areas such as first aid, treating snakebites and broken limbs and learning how to use firefighting equipment.

The cadets received practical training on how to use a whole range of firefighting equipment. Photo: Elliot Williams

The cadets received practical training on how to use a whole range of firefighting equipment. Photo: Elliot Williams

During Friday’s ceremony they demonstrated how to save a casualty from a burning vehicle amongst other activities.

Manager of the Lake George Zone Rural Fire Service Tim Carroll said beyond the practical lessons the week gave students a number of skills which would be beneficial both personally and professionally. He highlighted teamwork, leadership, confidence and initiative as core tenets of the RFS and program.

This was echoed by Queanbeyan High student Lacey Bayliss who was captain of the unit for the week.

Some of the successful graduates from the RFS cadet program at Queanbeyan High School. Photo: Elliot Williams

Some of the successful graduates from the RFS cadet program at Queanbeyan High School. Photo: Elliot Williams

“I think it was a good thing for us to do to gain confidence and we really just grew as a family,” Miss Bayliss said.

“It was really fun but it was challenging.

“You’ve really got to listen and I think we all developed our listening skills.”

Miss Bayliss said she and most of her fellow cadets now planned to apply to the Ridgeway brigade as junior firefighters.

Member of the Ridgeway brigade Peta Keddle who co-ordinated the week said the unit was excited to have the new recruits as they represented the future of the RFS in the region.

“We [Ridgeway] all feel really strongly about community education,” Ms Keddle said.

“Getting on a truck is fantastic. You can save a home, you can save a family, you can save a life, but through education you can save a community.”

She added all the students had passed their theoretical and practical assessment and had brought great enthusiasm during the week.

The training was provided by RFS volunteers, many of whom took annual leave to teach the students.

Mayor Tim Overall was in attendance to congratulate the students and praise their commitment to serving the community.

He recalled his own experience in the RFS in the ACT after high school and was impressed the level of equipment and training had greatly improved since he was in the unit.

It was the first time Ridgeway brigade had conducted a cadet course and the first time in several years that Queanbeyan High participated in such a course, both parties would like to see it continue in future.