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Igniting a Passion for a Thrilling Career in Firefighting


Peterborough, ON (October 30, 2023) – Pre-service Firefighter student Faith Humphrey thrives in intense situations.

She loved it when her Fleming College instructors blindfolded her and sent her into a smoke-filled maze to search for a mock victim as the clock ticked.

She loved it when she had to descend a ladder headfirst, far above the ground as her classmates looked on.

“We did that the other day,” Faith said. She breaks out into a big grin and an even bigger laugh.

“It. Was. Awesome.”

“A lot of people probably would not like that, but it was the highlight of my month. I live for that kind of adrenaline rush.”

Faith enrolled in Fleming College’s 2022/23 Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training program. Her passion for her future career was apparent to everyone in the class-Faith was elected Class President by her classmates during their first semester, a role that would see her advocate for her peers, engage with faculty on class issues and assist her classmates on everything from organizing volunteer events, sharing information to being a reliable source for help.

“Funny story,” Faith said. “I always knew that I always wanted to make a difference in the world.”

Faith said she thought of being a doctor but found the idea of years of post-secondary education and medical school to be a bit daunting.

She tried university. But after two years of studying Psychology, she realized the subject wasn’t for her.

“Someone once told me that I seemed like the kind of person that helps someone in the moment, at their darkest times,” Faith said. “I don’t know if a fire truck passed by after that, or if they said I’d make a great firefighter, but as soon as I knew I wanted to be a firefighter it just clicked, and it was my dream ever since.”

She’s realizing that dream through the three-semester, year-long program at Fleming.

Faith grew up in Milton and Mississauga and moved to Peterborough five years ago.

When her interest in firefighting was sparked, she said she initially looked at several schools which offered preservice firefighter programs.

“Fleming has such a great facility at the Eastern Ontario Emergency Training Academy,” Faith said. “The whole thing is just fire grounds. We have a burn building, we have a search and rescue maze, we have a confined space maze, we have a fire truck, a fire hall, all the tools you can ever need.”

“There are just so many amenities here.”

The hands-on style of learning in Fleming’s program also appealed to Faith. She explained that students learn by doing, and, most importantly, learn what they’ll be expected to do on the job.
“Honestly everything was a big surprise for me. I had never done anything fire-related before going into the program, so I didn’t really know what it was like.”

That blindfolded maze run in search of a victim? Faith explained that students are taught that in a real-world scenario, smoke may be so intense that they won’t be able to see in front them; So, they are taught to find their way in the dark.

They’re taught to follow a hose line to escape a burning building. They’re taught that due diligence and proper equipment maintenance will save not just crucial seconds, but also lives.

And, Faith said, they’re taught that no matter your size or gender, anyone is capable of carrying out all firefighting duties.

“There are techniques to everything,” Faith explained. “Say you’re not the strongest person-you don’t need to be. There needs to be a little bit of strength there, but anybody could hold their own so long as you know the proper technique and the safe way to do it.”

“For young girls who are looking to get into this, I would say, you are just as strong as the person next to you, no matter what gender they are,” Faith said. “You can do anything you set your mind to, and firefighting isn’t just about being strong. It’s about helping other people and putting yourself in harm’s way to save others.”

Firefighters will train and learn new skills throughout their careers, and Faith is looking forward to that. She hopes to specialize in high angle rescue-a skill set that appeals to the adrenaline junkie in her.

“Honestly I’m so grateful for the opportunity, I feel so useful,” Faith said. “That’s one of my biggest things about being a firefighter.”

“At the end of the day, that’s what it is. It’s helping other people and making a difference in the world.”

You can find out more about the requirements for the Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training program online here.

Join us at our Fall 2023 Open House and visit the Eastern Ontario Emergency Training Academy on November 4.