A Cut Above Average

Article / September 7, 2016 / Project number: w-ar-16-junior-ranger-cut-above

By: Canadian Ranger Jane Wilson, Port McNeill Patrol, 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group

Youth attending the Junior Canadian Rangers (JCR) Advanced Enhanced Training Session (AETS) this summer in Comox, B.C., took classes in chainsaw use, safety, and maintenance with Warrant Officer Corey Miller.

While chainsaws skills may not be something generally taught to teenagers, WO Miller said the training is very useful as a typical Junior Canadian Rangers  lives a very different life than youth in the city. “They are a lot more in touch with the land, and a lot more pioneering-type skills are required. Not as a hobby, or to go camping for the weekend, but for day-to-day life to keep their households going,” he said.

“Our kids come from northern and remote communities where materials aren’t always readily available and you can’t just run down to the hardware store for a bag of pellets or fire logs,” said WO Miller, “and a lot of houses aren’t heated with electric heat or gas, so woodstoves are how they heat their homes. They are expected to go out on the land with their parents, and other family and cut wood, and bring wood back to the community….safely operating a chainsaw is a very viable skill.”

JCRs may not be called upon frequently to use chainsaws in field training with their patrols. But WO Miller describes a situation where a JCR clearing a trail of deadfall while an adult is otherwise occupied as a time when it might be required.

The youth attended an introductory session on maintenance, proper fueling, personal safety equipment, basic mechanical understanding of the chainsaw and safe handling before moving to a practical session.  There the JCRs all donned safety equipment and sawed through a log of around 10-inches in diameter.

Many of the young people attending the chainsaw class during AETS have already used a chainsaw before in their home communities. For those youth, the training reinforced best practice safety procedures and weeded out any bad habits, added WO Miller. “If we’re going to have kids operating the saws then we need to demonstrate to them proper technique for doing it.”

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