Community service turning into career for local teen
By HAYLEY GREENE (Special to the Herald)
Conor Baker, an 18-year- old senior at Statesboro High School and a local volunteer fireman, qualified to represent Georgia in the 49th annual National Leadership & Skills Conference in Kansas City, Mo., June 24—28, after his first-place win at the state-level Skills USA Firefighting competition March 21—23 in Atlanta.
“We’re extremely proud of Conor,” said Charles Fales, the Skills USA advisor at SHS.
At state, Baker faced 11 competitors. He achieved the fastest Quick Dress time, outfitting himself in seven different pieces of equipment in 45 seconds. He also had a Candidate Physical Ability Test course time of 2 minutes, 6 seconds. The CPAT is used to measure the competency of actual firefighters.
At nationals, he will be evaluated on how prepared he is for a career in firefighting based on standards established by the National Fire Protection Association. He’ll encounter hands-on skill demonstrations, such as knot-tying, ladders, ropes and hoses. The CPAT will include 10 physical tasks such as a hose drag, forced entry and dummy drag, compared to only five skills tested at state. The written test will require knowledge of topics such as water flow, construction types, building occupancies, safety, breathing apparatus, fire streams, fire control, ventilation, emergency medical care, rescue, and protecting fire-cause evidence.
Baker credits his mother, who is a pediatrician, with introducing him to firefighting. “Mr. Bill Taylor invited my mom to serve with CAFE [Community Assistance in Fire Emergencies], and she got me involved, too,” Baker said.
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