First For Northumberland County Firefighters

In Local

It was a first for Northumberland County firefighters.
Recently 16 firefighters from Northumberland County along with firefighters from Stirling-Rawdon Township, Welland, Tweed and Bancroft took a course in elevator rescue at the Cobourg Firehall.
The one day course was sponsored by The fire services of Northumberland County Training Committee.
Cobourg Deputy Fire Chief Gene Thompson said the course involved learning about elevator rescues, the different types of rescues and most importantly how to rescue a person safely. And the safety of our fire fighters.
Most people taking an elevator likely wouldn’t be aware there are many types including hydraulic, cable and traction elevators.
“There is always a safety factor,” said Thompson.
“If the elevators aren’t working properly, we always have to mitigate the safety factor as much as possible.”
After training at the firehall which included the acts and regulations of elevators that are approved by the TSSA (Technical Standards Safety Authority), an exam, and props that resemble and actual working elevator, firefighters then went to various locations in Cobourg including Victoria Hall to look at the different types of elevators.
Along with the different types of elevators there are also old, new and ones that have been retrofitted.
Paul Pettener from ALERT (Advanced Learning Elevator Rescue Training) was one of the trainers from the company based out of Hamilton.
ALERT has been teaching fire departments on elevator rescues for eight years around Ontario.
They are something people use commonly in their daily lives.
“The key factor is when there is an evacuation (of a building)?? When there is a rescue or extrication key message is the power has to be shut off & locked out. We teach that right from the get-go.” Safety First.
Pettener who also owns an elevator company in Hamilton said it’s always best when the elevator technicians who work on the elevators daily should be the ones to do the rescue when it’s possible.
“A lot of times what happens after hours is the fire department will respond to a call because everyone has a cell phone in their pocket. A lot of it is because the person is calling 9-1-1 and the fire department is rolling in before the elevator company knows there is somebody trapped.”
“That’s one of the things we teach on the course is when firefighters arrive on site, find the superintendent, find who the maintenance company is and find out if somebody has been dispatched (from an elevator company).” Who can assist the fire fighters with the rescue.
Pettener said ultimately the goal is to have the elevator technician perform the rescue. But realizes in some cases the Firefighters will be the ones that remove the persons trapped.
“If it turns into a medical / stressful situation obviously the fire department is going to do it and with this training we teach them the safe methods both for them and for the person that’s trapped in the elevators.”
Today’s Northumberland spoke to Deputy Chief Thompson at the end of the day and he said the training was “excellent.” And wanted to recognize Port Hope Deputy Fire Chief Reno Leveque for sourcing “Alert elevator Training” and bringing this training to the NH Training committee.
“There are many different manufacturers of elevators and there are many different companies that install and maintain elevators across the Province. For us to know all of them would be extremely difficult so we rely heavily on the technicians that work on them every day as a key resource.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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