Firefighters from across Northumberland County didn’t have to travel far for training by members of the Ontario Fire College last week.
From August 23 to August 26, 2023 a total of 150 firefighters from seven different fire departments attended the Alnwick/Haldimand Township Fire Station in Grafton.
A trailer from the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office along with two trainers has been circulating around the Province of Ontario for the last few years since the Ontario Fire College in Gravenhurst closed.
“The idea is to give as many firefighters the opportunity for live fire training that wouldn’t otherwise get,” said Alnwick/Haldimand Fire Chief David Dawson.
Dawson said it’s a bit of a simulated fire because when the firefighters enter the trailer, the fire is generated by propane.
“But it’s to give you the idea of fire dynamics and fire behaviour.”
The firefighters went through about four different evolutions including feeling the heat, understanding smoke conditions and pre-flashover stages.
Having the training come to the firefighters is much more economical to the municipalities along with the firefighters not having to travel.
But Dawson said there was nothing like the Fire College – “we miss it – big time.”
“But we do have some very good RTC’s (Regional Training Centres) that exist.” (Norwood, Quinte and Trenton)
“They do have some very good facilities that we can do this, but the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office has purchased two of these trailers. (One for southern Ontario and one for northern Ontario).
In the last three years, the instructor has put through 3,500 firefighters which Dawson describes as “phenomenal.”
“Anytime we can bring the training home and deliver it in our own boundary, it certainly really, really helps.”
With Cobourg being the only full-time fire department in the County, keeping the firefighters local instead of travelling to Gravenhurst helps in case there is a major incid nt.
The trailer itself allows for numerous types of training including window rescues, window bailouts and interior firefighting.