'You can see the benefits of it' FSJFD utilizing city owned Fire Training Centre
It has been almost a year since the City of Fort St. John opened a $1.6 million Fire Training Centre. The facility opened on July 28, 2021 with a three storey building, two burn rooms, confined spaces and natural gas props like cars and dumpsters that can be set on fire. Today (Wednesday) the Fort St. John Fire Department was using the building for one of its eight 'live fire' drills conducted each year.
The materials used to ignite the flames consists of pallets and straw, simulating realistic fire behaviours. Deputy Fire Chief Matt Troiano says the available tools the centre offers is a huge deal when it comes to training.
"We're so fortunate to have this facility here, have our [burn] building, having our exterior props that we're able to come here and train whenever we want to."
Four crews complete two live fire training session per year in the spring and fall. The centre is continually used throughout the year for other training and skill building that does not require a fire.
Having easy access to training was not always available to the department. In previous years, crews traveled to Maple Ridge for training.
Craig Faulkner has spent more than 10 years with the department and says the travel was costly and would take resources away from the station.
"When you go send guys to Maple Ridge you can only send four at a time."
Faulkner also added, having a training centre in the city helps keep everyone available to respond to emergencies.
"For us to be able to train here where we can have all hands on deck we're able to get that done without being out of service."
Troiano says the benefits the station now has by being able to conduct more training session, like the one done today (Wednesday), will continue to create faster and safer responses when faced with emergency calls.
"You can only pretend so much in non fire environments. To have a fire facility here that we're able to utilize and hone our skills, you can see the benefits of it and our performance as a professional fire department."
For more information on the Fire Training Centre, click here.