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Junior firefighters bolster ranks

Hudson’s Hope fire department celebrates open house.

Hudson’s Hope Fire and Rescue held an open house at their district fire hall Tuesday night, inviting residents to enjoy a barbecue and watch their junior members demonstrate the auto-extrication techniques they’ve been practicing.  

Fire Chief Brad Milton says the juniors have been great additions to his team and was proud to see all four succeed in their training, which began last November. The department has been busy with 12 calls in the past month. 

“They were a great addition to the department. It’s been really good to have that program up and running again, especially with everything being shut down over COVID, it was missed within the community,” said Milton. “The girls were just phenomenal, and all they’re all part of the grad class this year. It was nice to wrap up their year with joining the juniors.”  

On Tuesday, Jenna Roberts, Davida Naisby, Katie Norton, and Sara Trask worked together to demonstrate a door removal in a mock emergency response scenario. Milton says it’s a skill that takes a lot of practice, with senior members overseeing the demo.  

Roberts says firefighting has been a great fit for her, and opportunity to give back to the community.  

“I’ve always wanted a career in healthcare or helping people in general, so the junior firefighting program’s been a stepping stone for me,” she said. "It’s given me experience into what helping people can look like through first response."

Naisby says the call to action runs in her blood as her dad and sister were both firefighters with the department. She plans to study criminology in the future, useful to both firefighters and law enforcement. 

“I grew up here and my dad was a part of the fire hall so I’ve always been interested in firefighting. My sister was also a junior firefighter. It’s been really fun,” said Nasiby.  

Norton is the daughter of the former Hudson’s Hope fire chief, Bob Norton, and always intended to at least take a few steps into her dad’s career. Working with hoses and learning water suppression has been the one of the highlights for her.  

“He was the old chief here, and now he’s the new chief in Fort St. John, so it's always something I’ve been around. I always thought it was cool and figured I would try it out,” she said. “It’s been excellent.”  

Trask is a Pink Mountain rancher and a farm girl at heart but has family who’ve volunteered their time to fire departments.  

“I’ve got cousins who volunteer and I thought it would be cool to get into. When I was younger, I spent some time with my aunt around a fire truck, so this was a good opportunity,” said Trask.  

Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative.  

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