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Sicamous fire department raises service level classification

Fire chief and council commended firefighters’ commitment to higher levels of training
The Sicamous Fire Department has classified its service ability at Interior Level, which allows firefighters to work inside burning structures with some restrictions. (Black Press file photo)

The Sicamous fire department has support from council to train members to a higher standard and classify its service abilities in the community at a more advanced level.

Fire Chief Brett Ogino spoke to council at its Jan. 25 meeting, asking for council to support the fire department’s Declaration of Service Level to be moved up to the Interior Level classification.

Ogino said the provincial Office of the Fire Commissioner likes to see support from mayors and council when fire departments move forward with training members and advancing their service level classification.

There are three levels of declared service a fire department can achieve. Exterior Service Level means firefighters can only fight fires outdoors or from the outside of buildings. Interior Level means firefighting can be done inside structures. Full Service is an unrestricted level of service. Although Ogino said the Sicamous department strives to train every firefighter to Full Service Level, it has new members that are not yet fully trained, so he is classifying the department at Interior Service Level.

The Sicamous Fire Department has been training its members to the Full National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1001 Certification Level for a few years, Ogino said. This certification covers job performance requirements for firefighting jobs that are mainly structural, taking place inside buildings, so Ogino said the Interior Service Level label makes the most sense. The NFPA 1001 certification takes about a year to complete and Sicamous currently has nine firefighters at that level. Ogino also said that driving and pump operations training have been added as new requirements to the NFPA.

Sicamous has added swift water and ice rescue training to its training roster as well as wild land fire fighting. Ogino commended the firefighters’ commitment to higher levels of training and their dedication to service in his report to council.

Ogino’s report also states the declaration supports the district’s Fire Protection Plan.

Council unanimously agreed to support the fire department’s declaration and members voiced gratitude for Ogino and his team.

“One of the things I feel is important is that the community recognize that these guys put in a lot of effort to protect them,” said Ogino.

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Rebecca Willson

About the Author: Rebecca Willson

I took my first step into the journalism industry in November 2022 when I moved to Salmon Arm to work for the Observer and Eagle Valley News. I graduated with a journalism degree in December 2021 from MacEwan University in Edmonton.
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