'We all share our resources up here in the north'
The Star - Port Perry

The Brock Fire Department is open to the idea of sharing its newest training equipment with firefighters from its northern neighbours.

At the May 31 Brock council session, fire Chief Rick Harrison outlined a training proposal that would see a 40-foot sea container donated to the township in 2017 transformed into a homelike training facility that could help make up for the loss of the Ontario Fire College.

“With the decommissioning of the Ontario Fire College Campus in Gravenhurst, it has forced fire departments to think outside the box and develop ways to modernize their own fire departments to continue receiving firefighter training requirements,” wrote Harrison in his report to council.

The sea container design would include several rooms and spaces with built in challenges for searchers that would be adjustable based on the skill level of participating firefighters — from recruits to experienced — and would feature two sets of stairs and also be equipped with multiple means of access in the event of a real emergency.

All surfaces within the prop would be painted out in flat black and there would be smoke machines in various locations to add to the scenarios.

The container was donated to Brock by Scott Granahan, who was a township firefighter in 2017, but now serves as fire chief of Rideau Lakes and is owner/operator of Ignis Services Canada Inc., a company that provides firefighter training.

Ignis would invest time and materials to complete the project with the understanding they would retain ownership of the training facility, which would remain at the Sunderland fire hall, said Harrison.

The township’s cost of creating the facility, as well as for training for Brock firefighters, would be an estimated $8,100 covered through a $2,200 fire safety grant, with the remaining — $5,900 — coming from Harrison’s training budget.

The Brock Fire Department could use the sea container for training at no expense to the township, but Ignis would also be granted permission to use the facility from time to time to deliver their own training programs, added the fire chief.

“It would be opened up to (Ignis training) other departments, (but) we’ve had conversations with Scugog fire and Uxbridge fire — we were trying to do something very similar together, so this is the first step ... it will be offered to (Scugog and Uxbridge) to come up and do some training with us or on their own and also the team at Ignis would be able to utilize it for other (fire) departments to do some training there also,” said the fire chief.

At this time, added Harrison, there’s no plan to charge other departments for using the training facility.

Mark Berney, Scugog’s fire chief, said the addition of a new training centre in Brock would only add to the ongoing co-operation between fire departments in north Durham and across the region.

“We all share our resources up here in the north,” said Berney, pointing to a rescue unit owned by the Scugog Fire Department that is shared with other services. “All of the departments up here in the north have various resources that we do tend to share and, for that matter, we train together at certain points ... it is not something uncommon.”

Last year, the Scugog and Uxbridge fire departments teamed up to complete tanker shuttle accreditations, which allowed both services to become familiar with each other’s equipment and tactics for the next time they attend a call together, said Berney.

“We train on our own but we also train so we have the opportunities and skillsets to work together,” he said.

Scugog mostly trains its firefighters in-house, while the Ontario Fire College was used by the township’s fire service for officer development, added the fire chief.


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