The burn building is in place though it’s likely things won’t really get cooking at Sicamous’ new live fire training facility until next spring.
Sicamous Fire Chief Brett Ogino said a mutual aid training session has already been conducted at the burn building, located on the District of Sicamous public works yard.
“We laid down some metal and did some small fires with a bit of smoke and heat – and did some training where we weren’t going to burn the floor off,” laughed Ogino, explaining concrete still needs to be poured before the facility can be used to its full potential.
The burn building consists of C-Cans customized for the fire department’s needs by Salmon Arm’s Milestone Fabrication.
“Basically, it’s three C-Cans with three different burn areas in each, and stairs and a little bit of a deck area that’s all done with metal,” said Ogino.
The training facility has been a work in progress for just over a year, spurred by the need for ongoing training.
“We have quite a number of very experienced firefighters – they’ve done their live fire, they’ve done all the different things the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) was offering, and we now are doing our own level of training that’s a bit higher than what the CSRD is offering…
“With that, we felt we needed a facility that would allow us to do that on a Tuesday night instead of waiting until the CSRD was having their live fire training (at the Shuswap Regional Fire Training Centre in Salmon Arm), and trying to fit guys into that course. It ends up being quite expensive by the time we’ve done it as well.”
Ogino said the facility may also be used by Malakwa and Swansea Point firefighters.
“As we train along, we’ll bring our own folks up to become instructors and work with our mutual aid departments like Malakwa and Swansea Point, so if they’ve got some people that are going to go for their exterior or interior live fire training, we can help bring them along for that and prepare them for it,” said Ogino. “I think that benefits them and also, if they’ve got experienced people who have done their live fire, it’s the same challenge for them. It’s expensive and it’s difficult to provide additional training for people that have already done it. So we’ll provide them with access to it.”
Ogino hopes to have the concrete poured this fall, so it can cure and be ready by spring.
“It’s something I felt we could do internally and without a ton of cost…,” said Ogino. “The crew is excited about and especially our guys that have got the experience and haven’t been in a building on fire for a while or have had a real fire to put out for a while.”
Asked about burn building training, Ogino said heat is a big factor in the experience.
“It’s the discomfort of high temperature heat, when you’re crawling around in the building and understanding what these things mean, that’s a big factor for sure,” said Ogino. “When I was instructor I would take a crew in and you would definitely feel the heat, no doubt about it. That’s one of the factors, and how to put it out.”
For more information about the Sicamous Fire Department, including how to join, visit www.sicamous.ca/live-here/essential-services/fire-department.
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