Fiery Girls

The Command and Engineering Institute of the Belarusian Emergency Ministry admitted girls as cadets for the first time
They wear the uniform and live by the regulations from reveille to lights out. However, there are other things to make female cadets of the Belarusian Emergency Ministry’s personnel training institute differ from other young girls. Not every representative of the sterner sex possesses the ability to stay calm in the face of danger. But staying on one’s feet after a shock is routine practice for these girls — future engineers in charge of preventing and responding to emergencies. They, who were school students just yesterday, chose the rescue worker profession rather knowingly.

This year’s admittance campaign was different from others, as the institute enrolled girls for the first time. Young ladies had to earn the right to the cadet title a hard way: the entry made 8.8 per seat, which was higher than the entry for boys. It is understandable that only the best of the best came through.

Unlike other applicants along with results of the central testing and the average grade of the school certificate these ones had to demonstrate the level of their physical fitness. Judging by the results, the girls did a fine job.

No failures during a 100 m race were registered and their performance during pushups was at least as good as boys’. The cadets will leave the institute as officers, but during the years of education they will have to start climbing the career ladder from rank and file. In other words, they will have to do such things as rolling fire hoses and climbing 10-storied buildings on fire in a heavy environmental suit. Have you gotten the idea of the scale of the tasks? Besides, they also need strength to tackle maths and physics. The institute is not used to feeling sorry for its graduates: the institute’s diploma is an equivalent of quality mark.

Right after the tension of the entrance exams went down, new tests were in order: right after the enrolment new cadets were sent to a countryside educational facility for a year. The wing, which hosts the girls, smells of paint and fresh wallpaper. Some repairs have just been completed. The institute administration took care about every little detail of the amenities. New beds, shower rooms with sparkling tiles, recreation and education rooms, washing machines, wardrobes with big mirrors. Despite the military lifestyle of the local inhabitants, a homelike atmosphere is certainly felt.

The summer basic training course opened with a duty for Valya Sushko and Tanya Kovenya. “Of course, it is hard without being used to it, but gradually we are getting used to it,” the girls are smiling while working hard with scrubs and mops. Lectures on daily routines, regulations and other things are held in the next building.

It was possible to talk to the girls only between lectures. For your information, most cadets are familiar with the fire-fighting basics, as they had finished advanced school courses and are members of the Belarusian youth public organisation of fire-fighters and rescue workers. Natasha Zainudinova is one of those who chose the rescue worker profession long before the entrance exams. She didn’t get familiar with fire-fighting equipment and first aid basics by hearsay, as she was the best at national competitions among young rescue workers more than once. However, her major victories still lay ahead. She attaches a lot of hopes to her diploma.

“My future job involves prevention of emergencies,” Natasha, who like the rest of the girls will have to work in the propaganda, prevention and supervision fields after the graduation, shared her plans. “You must agree it is noble mission. I have not been able to see myself in any profession other than rescue worker since the ninth form”.

Saving people is a destiny for purposeful people. In the name of the goal the girls are ready to overcome any hardships, which the future has in store. The obstacle course with smoke screen that eats your eyes out is bad enough. During the years of education every cadet has to learn to cope with hundreds of possible emergencies, that is to get a huge amount of practical skills and knowledge in addition to the diploma. The institute has everything to make it possible: computers, perfect testing grounds for modelling emergencies, and highly qualified professors.

In the countryside morning starts with a physical drill. Small troubles such as scratches and bruises are unavoidable on the first day.

“I’ll be OK for my wedding day!” smiled Diana Lysanovich looking at her bandaged finger. “It was bumpy as we were not used to it. But after some training we’ll be more subtle”.

Diana had not thought long about the choice of her profession. She had been deeply influenced by a childhood experience. Her two younger brothers were playing and set a stack of hay on fire. The flame was rapidly gaining force.

“Initially I was confused,” the cadet recalls the emergency. “I was afraid, to tell the truth. Somehow I managed to get a grasp of myself and reach the nearest phone. Untamed fire could have been devastating if the fire-fighters failed to arrive in time. Of course, I would be more decisive now. But then… Fascinated, I watched the well-coordinated fire-fighters saving our village.”
At first the girls definitely feel homesick. Apart from that studying at the Emergency Ministry institute requires complete moral and physical devotion. Tanya Sokolovskaya, Europe champion in trampolining, is no stranger to physical pressure and nomadic life.

“I’ve been a rare guest at my parents’,” Tanya shares her emotions of her first cadet days. “The news about my decision to apply for the Emergency Ministry institute was no surprise for my parents. I think they were ready for an unusual choice”.

So far the question is whether the female graduates will serve in frontline units is open to debate. Let’s say Western countries have the practice. According to courageous Tatiana, she would be glad to grasp the opportunity. The girl believes hardships make people stronger, as her moral fibre is.

However, there is time and place for a deed even during the training years. The institute’s head Gennadiy Lasuta informed that as part of a training fire-fighting and rescue ops team cadets respond to various emergencies together with professionals. On the average they have 15 live training missions weekly. Last year the cadets rescued 80 people from fire and out of water and pulled out from debris. The institute is a special one and the exam records take not points, but human lives into account.

by Irina Petrova
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