Another sign pandemic is flaming out: London firefighter training resumes

It’s back to class for London firefighters for the first time since the pandemic curtailed team training sessions.

But the classroom in this case is the multi-storey tower at the London Fire Department training centre in south London.

“There’s a little bit of the fear factor in the beginning but if you don’t have that on the edge it’s kind of... it’s a safety factor,” said Lindsay Ernst, a first-class firefighter who rappelled down the tower in a matter of seconds, making the task requiring great precision look easy.

“It’s always good to get out training. We used to do it obviously a lot more before COVID. But not only training alone -- a big part of this job is teamwork, so being with your full team again is one of the best parts of the job.”

With the province now in Step 3 of the pandemic response, the London Fire Department can resume training in groups.

Technical rescue training leader, firefighter Rob Williams, said they have some catching up to do.

“All during the pandemic we’ve been training in-house in our fire stations. It’s nice that we can now, that we can finally get together with different stations and do training scenarios that encompass the entire team.”

On Monday this very type of training became integral when crews responded to three separate incidents at apartment buildings -- all within a short period of time.

#ldnont fire crews have resumed technical rescue training, which is finally allowed under the province’s stage three pandemic response. That’s me safely on the ground taking vid. Thanks to Shannon B. of @LdnOntFire for this vid.

— Bryan Bicknell (@BBicknellCTV) July 20, 2021

The calls included an explosion at a Kipps Lane apartment complex, a fire at a Dundas Street apartment, and a carbon monoxide incident at a residential building on Frontenac Road.

Platoon Chief Kirk Loveland said crew members have to be sharp at all times.

“Team is only as strong as its weakest link, so you've got to keep everybody up to the same level, competent and confident in their skills. Make sure they have that confidence so they can act under the stressful situations when it’s needed.”

Technical rescue training continues through the week, so firefighters will be ready the next time you call.