THUNDER BAY — Firefighters from across the region have come to Thunder Bay to participate in various types of training sessions.
The multi-day event is put on by the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs and features various live training sessions, classroom learning and a trade show for the sector.
Some of the firefighters are attending FireCon for the first time, and others have been to the event multiple times.
Many of the attending firefighters are volunteers and come from smaller communities across the northwest, such as Atikokan, Sioux Lookout, and Marathon, while participants also come from larger municipalities like Kenora and Fort Frances.
Some of the live training includes practicing vehicle extrication scenarios, search and rescue setups, a firefighter survival course and using the mobile live fire training unit. Earlier this week, the provincial government announced they are providing funding for two more mobile units.
The mobile training units have the ability to create a controlled live fire scenario for firefighters to train in. The trailer unit is set up like a home and has different fire points that are operated from a control room. This gives the rescue teams the closest thing to a live fire without putting civilians at risk, as the controller can instantly turn off the flames and shut down the fires.
Other parts of the training take place at the Thunder Bay Fire Rescue Training Centre. That training includes blacking out trainees' masks to allow them to use their other senses and knowledge to get in and out of a scenario safely.
There is also a small trailer that gives rescue crews the chance to practice being in small spaces. While set up like several connected cupboards, it allows the firefighters to weave in and out of the small spaces with all their gear on and to practice how to manoeuvre best to get in and out safely.
FireCon comes to the city each year to provide updated training and procedures that greatly benefits small regional community firefighters might not otherwise have a chance to learn in their towns.