Training for volunteer firefighters never ends
Volunteer firefighters from throughout Charlotte County gathered at the St. Stephen Fire Department in November for live fire training, part of their Level One instruction program.
St. Stephen Fire Chief Jeff Richardson said there were 16 participants, including eight students, a number of training personnel and fire chiefs from related departments.
The training is necessary before the students can be allowed to take part in fighting a live fire to which their departments may be called.
Richardson said the newly established training ground at the fire hall on Union Street is still a work in progress, but has proved advantageous for firefighter training since provincial funding was cut for local fire departments to utilize the burn trailer from Waverly Fire School in Nova Scotia.
He said the department has created its own burn trailer for training purposes.
Richardson said firefighters always train, whether it’s to become a full-fledged volunteer or to continue specialized training in various aspects of firefighting.
Already, the Fundy Firefighters Association has plans in the works for training courses in 2017, one of which is a bus extrication course – “Things you need, but hate to have to use,” commented Richardson.
There’s also the possibility a Level Two firefighting course will be offered as well as a fire officer program. “There’s a good possibility a tanker shuttle exercise will take place in the spring which could have ramifications in the county,” said Richardson.
Earlier this year, eight regional fire departments participated in a water shuttle training exercise designed to increase proficiency and enhance existing teamwork among the volunteers.
Fire departments are accredited depending on their ability to put so many gallons of water on a fire over a period of time. Home insurance rates are often based on the proximity of the home or business to a fire station (eight kilometres for a residence, five kilometres for a business), as well as the “grading” attained by each of those individual fire stations.
Richardson said fire departments are always looking for volunteers, male or female who would like to begin training as a firefighter. St. Stephen’s minimum age is 18 years, no experience necessary.
“They just have to be in good health, have a good work ethic and then we’re off to the races.”