Friday, March 7, 2014

Fire Department launches education programs

Wood River High School students join Explorer Program

Express Staff Writer

Three of the Hailey Fire Departmentís Fire Explorers Program participants try on fire gear at the department last Thursday, under the direction of Assistant Chief Carl Hjelm. From left to right: Andrew Pearson, Zachary Swanson, River Kelly. Photo by courtesy photo

    The Hailey Fire Department has expanded trainings and educational programs since new Fire Chief Craig Aberbach took over the department on Nov. 1.
    “We’re going in a lot of different directions and it’s getting a lot of guys motivated,” said Aberbach, who came to Hailey from Cape Coral, Fla.
    “We have three new volunteers and no one has left,” he said.
    Aberbach launched the Fire Explorer Program in partnership with the Blaine County School District. The program engages Wood River High School students in firefighter training, and perhaps a career.
    High School juniors learn about equipment and all firefighting tasks, but are not exposed to dangerous situations, Aberbach said.
    The following year, as seniors, they mentor juniors as they move up in the ranks.
    “They also learn about responsibility, leadership and commitment, things they can pass on to any other profession,” Aberbach said.
    Aberbach said he will pursue grants to expand and continue the program.
    “With less vocational programs in school systems nationwide, this is a good way to guarantee a workforce for the future,” he said. “We already have one high school senior, Gus Conrad, who is a fully-fledged volunteer firefighter with us.”
    Fire Explorer Zach Swanson may continue a family tradition. His father is Rob Swanson, a volunteer firefighter with the department.
    Aberbach worked in middle schools in Florida as a full-time substitute teacher. At the college level, he worked to establish partnerships among schools, fire departments and emergency medical services departments.
     Since joining the Hailey Fire Department, Aberbach has been working with Eastern Kentucky University to establish an internship program at the department.
    “The university is involved with a lot of technical programs associated with firefighting,” he said. “We could be getting one of their degree-seeking students, who would work 80-100 hours in Hailey. It would be a great benefit to the community at little or no cost.”
    Aberbach said the Hailey Fire Department has doubled trainings with neighboring Wood River Fire & Rescue, from twice each year to four times each year.
    “Our members are always welcome at WRFR’s trainings, and they are always welcome at ours,” he said.         

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.