Sunday, July 5, 2015


Relaxing in the sun on Toronto's waterfront, Heather Fraser is enjoying an afternoon with a new book. Working part-time as a security guard at the Ontario Science Centre, she is also a student.

Born and raised in Toronto, Heather is a student at Seneca College taking Pre-Service Education and Training in order to train as a future firefighter. "It's a programme that prepares you ready to be hired. It takes you from the beginning of learning the apparatus, burn tower scenarios, swift water rescue and high angle rescue. It's a full course and tough, but I love it," Heather says of her year-long preparatory firefighting course.

Heather has her eye on working for a firehall in Markham, Ontario, but will take what she can get, the competition is tough. A mature student in the Seneca course, Heather spent 12 years working other jobs gaining life experience before realizing her dream of firefighting. "I applied for a position in Vaughan, Ontario recently. 3,000 people applied for 60 jobs. It's pretty competitive," she says of her job prospects. 

An avid sports lover, Heather can be found playing rugby, football, baseball, anything that keeps her fit and active. Today she is relaxing, listening to the wind and waves, a well-deserved break from a busy life - even if just for a few hours.

HEATHER FUN FACT: The "burn tower" is a concrete structure resembling a house and apartment complex. It is set alight and used to train firefighters and students in burn scenarios.

"We were all excited and gung-ho, our instructor was there. Four of us were to go in and put out the fire in the kitchen, but when we saw the huge fire and we just stood and stared! We just watched the fire until our instructor yelled at us," she says of her first experience in the burn tower. "Our instructor was so mad at us, but after that, he did say that everyone reacts that way to their first experience. "It was frightening, but so surreal and amazing at the same time."


www.richmondhill.caThe Richmond Hill Fire Department Training Centre's burn tower.

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