Teens take on role as first responders in new camp - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Teens take on role as first responders in new camp


Have you every wondered what it would be like to serve as a police officer or firefighter?

This week, a group of Waterloo teenagers are getting a feel for what first responders do, hands-on.  We tagged along for part of the city's first ever "Safety Services Camp."

Bret Hildebrand has firefighting in his blood.

"My dad's a fireman so I've kind of been around that, and police work I always thought was kind of cool," Hildebrand said.

During the past four days, the Waterloo teen's taken a shot at both career fields hands-on.  Hildebrand's joined by 11 other local teens getting a taste of what it's like to be a first responder, as part of the city's inaugural "Safety Services Camp".  They've been studying those skills alongside Waterloo police officers and firefighters.

"It's more of a thing for the community and the students to get a first hand look at what we do on a daily basis, why things are done the way they're done, and have a better understanding of the way we operate," said Captain Joe Leibold with the Waterloo Police Department.

On the police side, teens learned the ins and outs of investigations.  They made molds of footprints, and were even subjected to a lie detector test.  Campers also tried out some of the police department's tactical vehicles, a gator and Segway.

With firefighters, the teens suited up in full bunker gear, hauled hoses, and worked together to knock out a car fire. 

"What we wanted to stress to the kids is that it's a good opportunity for them to get into a field, and into a career as opposed to maybe just a job.  And we're always going to need police officers.  We're always going to need firefighters," said Pat Treloar, Waterloo Fire Chief.

The teens have quickly discovered fire and police work are challenging, and no two days are alike.  So who knows -- maybe that's motivation for them to pursue a career in emergency services.

Waterloo Safety Services modeled the camp after the Citizen's Academy program previously offered to adults.  It's hoped the teen program can now become an annual tradition.


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