Cathy Moralia and John Edmonds from the Eagle Bay fire department plan out the response to a hypothetical emergency with Nathan Lewis from the Celista Fire Department during a training exercise on Sunday, March 31. (Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer)

Shuswap firefighters take charge in emergency scenarios

Members of several CSRD firehalls gather for training exercise

Firefighters from around the region received instruction on managing an emergency scene where lives are at stake and every decision is important.

The two-day exercise for firefighters in the Columbia Shuswap Regional District was held at the fire training centre in Salmon Arm on March 30 and 31, and featured a day of classroom study followed by a day of scenarios to practise emergency responses.

Using miniature models of emergency scenes, firefighters practised radio procedures and the proper placement of vehicles on the scene.

Read More: Firefighters quickly extinguish Buckerfield’s blaze

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The training session focused on keeping personnel safe on the scene of an emergency.

Firefighters also practised the use of the accountability board, which is carried by the incident commander and used to keep track of the location and responsibilities of all firefighters and other personnel involved. Instructor Jack Blair said the accountability board is a WorkSafeBC requirement.

Marc Zaichkowsky, the deputy chief of the Tappen/Sunnybrae Fire Department who helped instruct the training session, said many of the department members enrolled in the training exercise have plenty of experience as frontline firefighters but have never taken on a command role before.

“It’s good for them to realize that the commanding officer has a lot on their plate,” Zaichkowsky said.

Blair said each firefighter attending the training exercise got a chance to practise incident command on the hypothetical scenarios at least once. Teams working together on the scenarios were made up of members of different fire departments, a detail Blair said is important because the CSRD often rely on mutual aid from neighbouring departments.

Read More: Recruits needed for Shuswap fire departments

Read More: Columbia Shuswap Regional District establishing junior firefighter program

He said the firefighters were picking up the training quickly and praised their dedication to their communities.

Blair, who assists with firefighter training in many communities around the province, said the CSRD are leaders in offering training to their firefighters.


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