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Students soar in fire camp
New program teaches about firefighter life
Fire camp 1 WEB
Matthew Pate, left, shows campers how to put on harnesses before taking to the ropes course at Sawnee Mountain Park. - photo by Autumn McBride

Some 40 feet above the ground, Tyler Miranda closed his eyes tight as he glided between two trees one recent morning.

And he didn’t open them until he landed.

The rising sixth-grader was one of 24 students who participated in the Forsyth County Fire Department’s inaugural fire camp last week.

Though he at first turned down the opportunity, Miranda was the final child in his group willing to brave the zip line at Sawnee Mountain Preserve as part of one of the camp’s exercises.

Fire Safety Educator Michele Cranford explained that the group participated in various activities throughout the week.

They ranged from First Aid and CPR to search and rescue and learning how outdoor fires are fought. 

The camp is aimed at giving kids a glimpse of life as a firefighter.

“We were having a little bit of fun (Thursday), but they were also learning how firefighters use ropes to do rescues and for utility reasons, to hoist equipment and stuff like that and just get a basic understanding of how the ropes can support your weight and things like that,” Cranford said.

She added that developing teamwork and leadership skills were also primary goals of the exercises.

While Tyler and his group honed their skills in the canopy, other children were on the ground working with ropes and learning water safety.

Cranford said groups rotated between the exercises and learned how to use ropes for water rescues without having to get in the water.

The camp’s graduation was scheduled for Friday, following an obstacle course to test what the campers had learned throughout the week.

The fire department’s Junior Fire Academy, which is for rising seventh- and eighth-graders, kicked off June 20.