EARLIMART — About 45 youth firefighters “in-training” descended onto Earlimart Park on Wednesday, June 20, as part of a three-day camp put on by the Tulare County Fire Department.

The junior firefighter camp’s goal: teach participants to use fire tools and equipment, learn fire suppression techniques, water safety and rescue and the physical fitness required of firefighters.

The camp included various stations, ranging from decontamination, where children were covered with shaving cream then placed in a pool to get washed off and scrubbed down by their peers, to CPR training, where students learned to perform CPR to mannequins.

Other activities included:

• Marching

• Physical training

• Educational sessions

• Demonstrations

• Learning fire prevention and safety CPR and first aid

• The use of tools and equipment

• Fire suppression techniques

• Water safety and rescue

• Physical fitness

Delano’s Jayden Popoy said his favorite part was the obstacle course.

“I liked all of it, really,” Jayden said.

The 9-year-old Harvest Elementary School student says that firefighting would be his second career choice, right behind baseball.

All participants received a T-shirt, snacks and a hot dog lunch.

Junior firefighters started their day forming companies (or groups) and warming up and marching together.

Each day consisted of different events and demonstrations.

Tuesday, June 19, focused on real firefighters demonstrating daily duties. Things such as CPR administration, paramedic training, and hose set-up and spraying.

Wednesday, June 20, had children performing an obstacle course (including pulling hoses and carrying heavy-duty fire extinguishers), charging into a simulated smoke house (a tent set up to simulate a burning building) and learning how to properly climb a fire ladder.

On Thursday, June 21, awards were distributed.

The first-ever camp was open to the public but aimed toward fifth- and sixth-grade students in the Earlimart School District.

The second camp is set for later this year in the Cutler-Orosi area, said Sgt. Jonathan Roberts, who set up the trail program.

“The camp was created to give back to the community, as well as exposing kids to a future career in firefighting, and give an opportunity to kids,” Roberts said.

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