Second consecutive weekend of youth camps seek to spark interest in firefighting as a career

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This weekend, Salt Lake City Fire Department (SLC Fire) will hold the second installment of its 2018 day-long, firefighting youth-camp series. Last week (Camp Athena) hosted young women; this Saturday’s camp (Prometheus) targets young men, ages 16-20.

Nineteen participants are enrolled in the Sept. 15 camp that begins at 9:15 a.m., wasting no time to quickly get participants checked in, trained on basic firefighting safety, and outfitted with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and breathing apparatus.

“A program like this is a tremendous undertaking,” said Chief Karl Lieb. “But we feel it’s absolutely worth it if the camp generates additional interest and gives a clearer understanding about our roles as professional firefighters and first responders.”

Lieb said most camp participants know very little about firefighting as a viable, full-time career option, and SLC Fire has made a serious commitment over the past few years to promote the profession, diversify its applicant pool, and recruit hidden talent.

“We want to attract the best,” said Darby Egbert, SLC Fire recruiting and outreach coordinator. “Every opportunity we have to cultivate a new, larger pool of qualified candidates, the better we will be able to maintain our department’s high standards of response.”

During the youth camps, participants attack live fire, rappel down a 35-foot building, tackle a smoke-filled obstacle course, and learn about the critical roles of first responders who provide service as EMTs and paramedics.