With knees bent and back straight, Tyana Maiava tossed a 45 pound 16-foot aluminum ladder over her shoulder and walked it with ease.
Next up, climbing to the top of the tiered ladder on a Redlands fire engine.
The 18-year-old was looking to get out of her element and experience something new and she got just that as one of 25 participants in Redlands Emergency Services Academy, a program that gives high school graduates interested in careers in public safety a week of hands-on intensive training.
“I wanted to try something new, challenge myself and get out of my comfort zone,” she said.
It was only day two in the program and Maiava said she’s loved it.
“So far, I’ve learned a lot about discipline and taking accountability for what I do. I’m excited for everything that’s next.”
On the list of training activities ahead for Maiava and the rest of the group included suiting up in protective gear, arming themselves with airsoft guns and participating with members of the Redlands Police Department in simulations as part of their Special Weapons and Tactics training; practice police techniques for weaponless defense; fire weapons on the range and learn about pursuit driving at the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Academy.
Firefighters will teach firefighting and search and rescue techniques, rappelling, and auto extrication and triage throughout the week.
The course also includes instruction in public safety ethics and career pathways.
RESA is a commitment, said Redlands Community Service Ofc. Chris Mead.
“Taking away their summer for one week instead of having a good time with their families and friends, and instead spending that time to work and sweat shows they want this.”
The program began in 1999 as a collaborative effort between Redlands Police and Fire Departments, Crafton Hills College, Redlands Unified School District and COMPACT (a Redlands business and school community) to offer new graduates of Redlands’ high schools an opportunity to experience first-hand the duties of police officers and firefighters.
This year, the program registration was also open to Yucaipa High School graduates.
More than a dozen RESA graduates have gone on to join Redlands police and fire, he added.