Young Firefighters Test Their Mettle at Youth Day Competition

Aug 11, 2017

Youth firefighters take part in a roof exercise at the Syracuse Fire Department's training grounds.
Credit Leo Tully / WAER News
  Young volunteer firefighters from Buffalo to Long Island gathered in Syracuse Friday morning for a series of competitions and training courses.  The ninth annual Youth Day is part the 145th annual convention of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York.  President Ken Pienkowski says the events were all about getting young people truly interested in firefighting more than actual training. "It's always difficult to get younger people involved, but it's more difficult to keep them amused.  There's a lot of other things they get involved in today with electronics and all of that.  But keeping the attention of the young kids and the involvement."
Practice with hoses.
Credit Leo Tully / WAER News

Youth Day took place at the Syracuse Fire Department Training Center and the courses covered a wide spectrum of firefighting duties. The hose relay competition had two groups striving to see who could hook up their hose to water first, while the another operation had pairs working together to safely get an injured firefighter off a roof.  President Pienkowski says the courses were aimed at teaching new skills and at giving opportunities to enhance existing skills.

Young firefighters also tested their extrication skills on cars.
Credit Leo Tully / WAER News

"Everyone here is currently a member of a youth group, whether it's an explorer post or junior firefighter in their home department, wherever they come from.  The end goal of this you start them young, you train them young, and when they turn 18, they become an active member of their volunteer fire department."

Many of the young firefighters at today’s events are looking to continue a family tradition.  Tanner Woodworth of Solvay was just one of the many people on the courses today.

"All of my family is in the fire department, so it's in the bloodline.  My friends are doing it, and I know the instructor.  That's what inspired me.  I might take it further as a volunteer for Solvay, and see where it goes from there."

The three-day FASNY conference began Thursday and will wrap up Saturday with an awards ceremony and the announcement of the Firefighter and EMS Provider of the Year. 

Hose relay.