New training funds will enhance emergency response training for local firefighters. Photo: Dan Seguin

RDCK firefighters get $400,000 grant for training

Safety training will include mental health

Firefighters in the Regional District of Central Kootenay have received a $400,000 grant from the province.

The money will pay for training for 350 firefighters in 17 fire departments around the region, according to RDCK fire chief Nora Hannon.

“We are very, very excited to get this,” she told the Star.

Much of the money will be used to bring firefighters up to a common standard set by the province. They will be trained in a variety of things including ladders, ropes and knots, water supply, hose lays, fire suppression techniques, survival, search and rescue, communication, building construction, and fire behaviour.

There will also be training in rural water supply operations training — the delivery of water to fire when there is no hydrant.

Another branch of the funding would address mental health, through the Canadian Mental Health Association and a train-the-trainer program.

“We are more and more aware of the impact on first responders, with regard to PTSD and mental health,” Hannon said.

Some funding will be used to create training props — forcible entry props or ventilation props, for example, or an entanglement prop that will teach firefighters how to extricate themselves from wiring, plumbing and debris.

“We want to make sure they can safely untangle themselves and get out without panicking,” Hannon said.

The funding is part of a $5 million provincial grant to volunteer fire departments across the province from the province’s community emergency preparedness fund.

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New training funds will enhance emergency response training for local firefighters. Photo: Dan Seguin

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