On July 30, members of the East Rockaway Junior Fire Department graduated from Camp Fahrenheit 516, a weeklong training event where they gained hands-on experience in how to fight fires and learned safety protocol at Nassau County Fire Services Academy in Old Bethpage.
The Nassau County Junior Firefighters Association sponsored the camp. Representing East Rockaway were Junior Captain and NCJFA President Bryan Scheer, second Lt. Nicholas Capone and Kaitlyn Hoey. Members of the Baldwin, East Meadow, East Norwich, Franklin Square, Glen Cove, Hewlett, North Bellmore, North Merrick, Point Lookout and Wantagh departments also participated.
During the camp, the junior firefighters were put to the test in many different drills. They included ladder climbing, fire fighting, knot tying, using axes and more.
“The juniors participated in similar training that is required of all probationary firefighters,” read a post on the East Rockaway Fire Department’s Facebook page. “This experience will help prepare them for a bright future in the fire service.”
In one scenario, the juniors had to crawl out of a burning warehouse fire, fully outfitted in the same gear as actual fire fighters — including air tanks. The participants felt the heat and smoke before crawling out to take turns operating the hoses to extinguish the blaze.
The academy is the only one left in the country that uses real fuel-fed fire as opposed to controlled propane gas in its exercises. The main reason is because people from all over the country come to train there — including members of the U.S. military.