At 16 Wyatt Hollett is one of the South Cariboo’s youngest licensed medical first responders. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

At 16 Wyatt Hollett is one of the South Cariboo’s youngest licensed medical first responders. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

First responder, 16, ready for action

Wyatt Hollett is a member of the Interlakes Volunteer Fire Department

He’s still in high school but Wyatt Hollett is already on his way toward a possible career as a paramedic.

Hollett, 16, recently wrapped up four months of emergency services training with the Interlakes Volunteer Fire Department, making him the youngest licensed first responder in the South Cariboo.

“I had an opportunity and I tried it,” Hollett said. “It’s been really enjoyable so far in the sense you get to help people and it’s an accomplishment for me.”

Hollett signed up for the training with his dad, Willy, last September, just a month after moving to Bridge Lake from the Village of Burk’s Falls, Ont. The pair saw it as a good way to get involved in the community and meet new people.

The BC Emergency Health Service approved training included 40 hours of classroom study, practical knowledge and simulations. Hollett said he found the course challenging but informative, learning how to properly do CPR, use an ED device and a spineboard and to assess trauma.

After completing the course, Hollett had to take a practical exam, in which he had to deal with two simulations as the primary responder, along with a legal and written exam. A passing grade was 80 percent, which Hollett easily achieved.

“I was really happy because my dad had passed it before me. Now I’m able to work with him and a lot of other great people at the fire department that I’ve been training with up until this point,” Hollett said. “I think it would have been a lot harder without the good instruction (from Sheila Schley).”

Hollett said he never had any dreams of being a firefighter when he was a child but has lately begun to think about a career as a paramedic. The Interlakes’ first responder’s course was the perfect trial run. In addition to being able to help people in medical distress, Hollett said the dynamic nature of responding to calls is exciting. Each one is different which makes the job challenging but interesting.

He’s responded to a few medical calls so far and has helped out. As a junior firefighter, Hollett must be supervised by another licensed responder over 18. Medical calls are the primary source of calls at the Interlakes Hall and he’s happy to pitch in, especially because he might need help one day himself.

“Out there we’re a little farther out from town so the ambulance doesn’t always get there right away. For me, it’s nice to know there’s going to be someone coming out there if I get hurt or someone else gets hurt, so I think it’s a good program and lets us have that sense of security living out of town.”

Hollett said living in a small town is all about being there for your neighbour. He intends to stick with the department for at least the next year.

“Coming into the fire department as new to the community and a younger person I found them so welcoming and I’m really thankful that I was able to get that opportunity.”

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