Real life training for firefighters
Firefighters from all North Dundas fire stations were on hand to take part in the training in Chesterville with the Live Fire Mobile Training Unit. In this photo watching the training were: Left to right: North Dundas Mayor Tony Fraser, Mountain fire chief Ray Sherrer, Chesterville fire chief Mike Gruich, Winchester fire chief Dan Kelly and Coun. Gary Annable. Morin Photo

CHESTERVILLE – Firefighters from all four stations in North Dundas had a busy week in Chesterville culminating in an all-stations’ training session on Sat., April 23.

The municipality was given the use of a Mobile Live Fire Training Unit which enabled firefighters to train in a way they usually cannot do.

The two mobile training units are part of the province’s plan to expand and give access to firefighting training to all municipalities.

North Dundas Mayor Tony Fraser who himself was a firefighter for 23 years said: “This is highly technical training for firefighters in North Dundas.” The mayor after a guided tour through the mobile unit said it was a great way to bring firefighters together and give them a realistic training experience.

Chesterville fire chief Mike Gruich said, “The unit arrived on Tuesday and each station had an evening of training on the unit with fire marshal instructors. We figure we have about 80 per cent of our firefighters here for the training.”

Fraser added, “This kind of training is important. Firefighters do not have to leave the community to train. The importance of the training is twofold, it brings the groups all together and they leave knowing they have learned valuable lessons.”

The units, manufactured by Draeger Canada are 16m long. They simulate the extreme fire conditions firefighters’ encounter and serve as a perfect training opportunity.

The unit has rooms that are equipped with fire and smoke devices that firefighters have to work through. The entire operation is controlled from a room in the unit that has a computerized control panel and monitors that the operator can use to follow firefighters as they navigate through the mobile unit.

Each North Dundas Fire Station had an opportunity to train in the unit; they encountered smoke, fire, fire rollover where flames roll across the ceiling of a room and force firefighters to work under the fire. The rooms in the unit are designed to be switched around causing firefighters to have to navigate blindly in changing circumstances. Firefighters also had the opportunity to practice venting smoke from the unit using high pressure hoses.

Gruich said the training exercise was a great opportunity for firefighters. The different station had to set up a command centre as they would at any structural fire they are called to. The firefighters took turns training in the mobile unit while simulating real fire situations.