Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Timmins firefighters get special training

Did ya hear the one about the firefighter who jumped out the window and slid down the fire hose? It’s no joke.
Firefighters in Timmins are the first in Northern Ontario to learn that as part of the newest and latest lifesaving techniques.
They have been practicing their skills this week at the Northern College fire training building beside Porcupine Lake.
“For the most part, our firefighters key on saving others,” said chief fire training officer Rick Dubeau,
“This is teaching firefighters how to save themselves and how to save their brother firefighters,” he added.
“They’re learning how to exit the building and get down the ladder face first and upside down.”
While the idea of jumping out a window and going down a ladder face first seems like the wrong thing to do, Dubeau says it’s actually the quickest way to leave a building in the event something goes wrong.
Geoff Boisseau, a fire training officer from Toronto, agrees.
“If you watch someone turn around on a ladder it takes a long time, especially if the partner is coming out behind him, so the longer he takes to turn around, the greater peril the partner will be in,” said Boisseau.
Events such as an explosion, a collapsing building, or flames running out of control are the sorts of things that would force a firefighter to escape the obvious danger.
The training involves professional firefighters as well as the students in Northern’s firefighter training program. This week’s training was realistic, so realistic in fact that one firefighter suffered a dislocated shoulder on Monday.
Deputy Chief Joe Stojkiewicz said he is confident the injured firefighter will be fine, but agreed that realistic training is necessary owing to the urgency of the work firefighters are required to do.
Boisseau says the new program is going to be part of the regular training regimen for all fire departments in Ontario.
Dubeau adds that the training involves three elements – learning to stay as safe as possible while fighting a fire, learning how to rescue yourself and learning how to rescue your partner. The training also teaches the firefighters they can use the high strength fire hoses as an escape rope in an emergency.
Dubeau says it’s all about learning to survive with whatever tools you have on hand right now.

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