Ground Fire Training teaches fire fighters what to do if they get entangled in wires and other debris.(contributed)

Sooke firefighters learn to save themselves in ground survival training

Specialized equipment brought in for weekend training

Sooke Fire Rescue plays host to a unique training opportunity this weekend, and the skills that will be taught during the program may save their lives one day.

The Fire Ground Safety Program is an initiative of the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters Association and uses props that simulate life-threatening scenarios where a firefighter has become disoriented, injured, trapped or low on air.

It started in 2017, when the International Association of Fire Fighters helped the B.C. association develop the course and created a mobile training unit that could tour across the province to provide the life-saving instruction.

The intensive training also trains participants to become instructors so that they can pass on the critical survival skills to other firefighters in their department.

RELATED: Course delivered in Saanich as well

“This is the first time that this training will be hosted in Sooke, and we’re very excited to be able to offer it to our firefighters,” Sooke Fire Chief Kenn Mount said.

“I’ll be taking the course this weekend along with 15 other firefighters. We already train for a variety of situations but this program helps to simulate the real stress situations and it’s important to me to take the same training as my recruits.”

RELATED: Sooke Fire Rescue one of the best

The mobile training unit simulates situations like being tangled in debris and electrical wiring after the collapse of a structure. Firefighters practice extricating themselves from those conditions as well as skills like climbing head first down a ladder.

“The key to a lot of these situations is to stay calm, control your breathing and use the techniques we’ve been taught to self-rescue in the case of a bad situation,” Mount said.

Mount said structure fires are far more hazardous than in the past.

Lightweight building materials have led to a higher risk of collapse in the case of a serious fire and the chemicals released from burning synthetic materials used in furniture such as couches and chairs can be deadly.

“This is a detail-oriented training program based on recent, real life situations where firefighters have had to self-evacuate. It’s really a chance to get down and dirty and practice these skills in a safe environment before we have to face those situations during a real fire. It’s designed to help us prepare for those unforeseen challenges so that when they occur we’re ready,” Mount said.

Another Sooke firefighter, Ben Patterson, is also taking the training and is glad that the opportunity has been brought to Sooke.

“In order to prepare to take the course, we had to take an online course in preparation for the hands-on training,” Patterson said.

“This is a dangerous profession, and these days fires are burning hotter and faster. We need a different skill set than we did in the past.”

In the end though, Patterson said, one part of firefighting hasn’t changed.

“We’re still the ones running into a burning building when everyone else is running out.”



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Saanich council seeks more information after hearing Uptown-Douglas plan

Council asks for further reports on economic, housing, transportation plans for corridor

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Victoria police seize replica handgun and bullets

Unrelated call leads police to functional replica

Flaming object thrown through Victoria restaurant window

Police looking for any witnesses to early-morning incident

Man arrested after stabbing incident at makeshift camp near Vancouver Island mall

RCMP in Parksville report 28-year-old man taken into custody without incident

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Russia approves vaccine, Putin hopes to begin mass production

Critic calls decision to proceed without thorough testing ‘dangerous and grossly immoral’

Most Read