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

Helping others, especially those struggling with mental health issues, keeps MOD Pizza owner Jim Hayden cooking. (RIck Stiebel/News Staff)
Saanich implements single-lane traffic stretch on Prospect Lake Road along Clavert Park. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Saanich makes one-way traffic permanent on segment of Prospect Lake Road

Prospect Lake Road to close near Calvert Park Nov. 2 from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. for construction

Lacrosse player Patrick Dodds, 19, got his start playing for the Saanich Tigers in Braefoot Park and has now been drafted to the Calgary Roughnecks for the upcoming National Lacrosse League season. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Calgary Roughnecks draft young Saanich lacrosse star for coming NLL season

Going pro at 19 is ‘surreal,’ says Patrick Dodds

Nicole Abbott and her 10-month-old daughter, Ophelia, shown here at the Metchosin Fire Hall for the Halloween events last year. Residents are invited to a drive-through version this year. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore fire halls take pandemic-safe approach to Halloween

One spooky lane among three drive-thru features by firefighters

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

Jordan Jay Ward, 20, is wanted Canada-wide for manslaughter. (Calgary police photo)
RCMP: Suspicious man seen in Parksville woods resembled manslaughter suspect

Hikers say he resembled Jordan Jay Ward, wanted Canada-wide

A police pursuit ended with an arrest in Williams Lake on Highway 97 Sunday afternoon. (Facebook video screenshot)
Video catches police pursuit that ends with man kicked, punched in Williams Lake

A video of the arrest is getting widely shared on social media

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Most Read