The Fraser Lake Fire Rescue Training Society was created in May, 2017 in response to new training requirements for all Fire Departments and the lack of training centres in the Northwest of BC.
“This project has been a year and a half in the making” says society president and Fraser Lake firefighter Dave Christie, “With the new training requirements (playbook) that fire departments need to train to for exterior, interior attack or both, firefighters need a training centre with real scenarios to train with.”
“Seeing, feeling, and understanding real fire behavior along with new firefighting techniques will save lives and reduce damage to structures when the real event occurs” explains Christie.
Smaller volunteer fire departments do not have the capacity to have live burns. Training up till now typically consists of using theatric smoke and blindfolds to simulate a smoke-filled room, and buckets and tires to aim for with a charged fire hose. “There is really nothing realistic about it” says Christie.
There is one training center in Fort St. James which currently services the Northwest and Northeast, but with long wait times and very limited space many local volunteer fire departments are struggling to get firefighters trained to the new standards says Christie.
The Fraser Lake Fire Rescue Training Society developed a plan that the Regional Training Centre would not only be grounds for firefighters to train on for fires, mvi’s, and other duties carried out by fire departments, but would also be used by other emergency agencies and regional industry first responders.
The Society approached the Village of Fraser Lake with the Regional Training Centre plan, and was given full support from Mayor and Council. The Fraser Lake Fire Rescue Training Society obtained land at the municipal airport that was out of the way and not being used with the agreement the land would need to be cleared, developed and maintained at the cost of the society.
The Society has approached Fire Departments in the region, area industry, utility companies, and the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako with the project plan. All of which have given full support for the development of the Regional Training Centre. With a grant from Nechako-Kitamaat Development Fund and funds raised by the society, the Regional Training Centre site broke ground recently on August 16.
The Society’s next steps are to obtain funding through various grant opportunities which will fund the purchase of a Live Fire Burn Building, and a Wildfire Sprinkler Property Protection Unit.
“The goal of the Society is to have everything in place, and the Regional Training Centre starting operations in the summer of 2018, it is an aggressive timeline, but obtainable,” states Christie.
– from press release by Dave Christie, President, Fraser Lake Fire Rescue Training Society and Joe Pacheco, Society Director.