Graduate: Michaela Hoskins
Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training, 2015
Firefighting has been on my mind since I was 15 years old. I had a neighbour growing up who showed me the ropes, so I recommend those interested in this field find themselves a champion to cheer them on with pursuing this career. I did a co-op in Millbrook at 17, and completed the Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training program at Fleming College.
For a long time, firefighting has been a male dominated field, but it's changing slowly and it has been very interesting being a small part of that. I do love the adrenaline that comes with this career - sometimes it can go from zero to 60 and adrenaline helps us cope with those changes in pace - but it also makes it clear why our training is so important in order to be able to stay in control and calm under those circumstances.
I enjoyed my time at Fleming College. When it comes to schooling, I need a lot of hands-on training, and they delivered. The Eastern Ontario Fire Academy in Norwood is a great partnership for training. It has a classroom, burn tower, roof props, search and rescue maze, and confined space tunnel and fire engine; We were able to go from learning theory to practical experience just by stepping outside. The instructors are all current firefighters and being able to learn how they do their jobs is priceless. We built a rapport with them that made for a strong team-oriented environment.
While at Fleming I was part of the largest female contingent to represent Fleming in the FireFit Battle of the Bay competition. FireFit was the experience of a lifetime and pushes you to your limit. We won gold in the Women's Relay Competition, as well as a silver medal with my teammate Erin Young in the Women's NXG Competition (a two person race, in which each partner races half the course with a Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus carried on their back, switching over mid-way).
After Fleming I was hired on at the Haliburton Fire Management Centre with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry for Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services Branch. In May, my crew got a call to go out to Yukon Territory to help with the unseasonably high fire conditions, which gave me the chance to put all of my training to work. I'm now back on base in Haliburton and anticipating the next call to help out any of our western provinces that are all having record breaking fire seasons-- and the call could come at any time.
This is a job I have always wanted to do. School helped me build my resume and gain the practical experience I needed to succeed in this field.
Learn more about the Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training program.