Regional District adopts new fire services training

Eighteen rural fire departments in the Regional District of Central Kootenay will be implementing new training standards immediately.

Rural fire departments in the Regional District of Central Kootenay will be implementing new training standards immediately.

As per direction from the office of the BC Fire Commissioner, the RDCK board adopted the exterior operations level of service for all RDCK volunteer fire departments, effective January 1, 2015. The board also adopted the interior operations level of service for all departments effective January 1, 2017. These levels were established to provide an industry recognized minimum standard of training for structural firefighters.

East Shore director Garry Jackman said he supports the new training but was concerned with the two year timeline for all local departments.

“Mandating this by 2017 may be premature,” Jackman said.

Rural Salmo director Hans Cunningham reminded the board that they are adopting the training standards, not enforcing them, adding volunteer fire departments have to adapt to these situations.

Regional fire chief Terry Swan said all the regional departments have received the new training standards and other than a few minor issues, he feels that the levels can be accomplished by 2017.

There was a discussion of what underwriters stance would be, whether the training standards are adopted or not. Swan said he called underwriters when this first came up.

Swan said, “I wasn’t thrilled with their response. They said, ‘We have no plans to make changes… at this time.’”

“My belief is we should have a higher level of training,” said Swan. “It makes it a safer place to be. It might not be required on-scene ever, but it will be safer.”

For information on these standards, visit www.embc.gov.bc.ca.

District approves funding for deputy fire chief study

Regional District CAO Stuart Horn said the board has approved up to $24,000 to be spent on an assessment of the needs of the administration function of the fire and emergency services department. This will include an internal and potentially external review.

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