OCEANSIDE, California — Oceanside, San Diego’s North Shore, introduced a new program that allows groups to experience what it’s like to be a firefighter for a day. The firefighter experience is the most recent addition to Visit Oceanside’s popular “Hero for a Day” team-building program that also includes a Navy SEAL-type boot camp and Marine-inspired activities on Camp Pendleton.
“All of our Hero offerings are designed to foster team building by focusing on the qualities that are critical to our military and first-responder heroes: effective communication, quick thinking, perseverance, teamwork and overcoming obstacles,” said Leslee Gaul, CEO of Visit Oceanside. “The firefighter program is the perfect complement to our existing offerings and continues to allow us to showcase Oceanside’s unique facilities and rugged coastal environment.”
Groups participating in the Firefighter for a Day program meet at Oceanside’s Command Training Center, an advanced firefighting training facility that is one of only a few in the nation with high-tech video simulator capabilities. The day’s rigorous program includes a simulated fire emergency and hands-on activities such as operating a fire hose, dressing in turnouts and rescuing a victim from a burning building.
Groups start their day in the computer simulator room, where they work together to fight a fire during video simulation. A team of firefighters coach the attendees and offer advice on how to manage and approach the incident.
“The simulator experience focuses on leadership, trust and accountability,” said Oceanside fire chief Darryl Hebert. “To resolve the incident successfully, participants must use a variety of tactics including listening, communicating clearly, problem solving and managing effectively.”
Following the simulator experience, teams test their mental and physical strength as they suit up in fire gear and then ride on a fire engine to a burning building. Together they enter a pitch-black building filled with candy smoke and must rely on their senses and accurate directions from teammates to rescue a victim. The day’s physical rigors conclude with the excitement of operating and maintaining control of a fire hose.
At the end of the day, groups dine on Firehouse Subs and participate in a debriefing that allows them to reflect on how they can apply the team-building concepts to their own workplace or organization. The experience concludes with an official “swearing in” ceremony for the group.
In addition to the firefighter program, groups can choose from two other Hero for a Day offerings, including Navy SEAL Boot Camp at the Beach and the Camp Pendleton Experience.
The Hero programs range from three to four hours and are available to groups with a minimum of 10 participants.