Kamloops Fire Rescue asking city for better training facility - InfoNews

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Kamloops Fire Rescue asking city for better training facility

FILE PHOTO- Kamloops firefighters train at the training facility located on Bunker Road. Learning how to safely extract people from a damaged vehicle is an important part of Kamloops Fire Rescue training.
February 06, 2019 - 5:00 PM

KAMLOOPS -  Kamloops firefighters and others would no doubt benefit from an upgraded training facility, but city councillors aren’t sure about funding it.

Kamloops Fire Rescue is looking for more than $1 million over three years, so training is safe and better controlled.
"Our biggest goal is making sure our people have the ability to train, train on a regular basis, train in our own city and be safe," Assistant Fire Chief Steve Robinson says.

He was before council Feb. 5 to make his case, along with a handful of others seeking to have additional city projects added to the budget.

The assistant fire chief says his crews train roughly once per week by burning wood pallets, and sometimes going to the facility in Vernon to train.

Along with the risks associated from smoke, burning pallets can also pose a safety issue when a practice goes wrong. If a fire for training poses a safety issue, firefighters have to deal with it themselves. Robinson says the new technology is designed to mitigate this risk.

“When we use gas fire props… we have an instructor inside the facility they have what’s called a “dead man switch,” Robinson explains. “So basically if there’s an issue regarding safety of one of our people they let it go, the system shuts the gas off, fans come on, and they ventilate the super heated gasses out of the room.”

The presentation to council was for information only because it’s considered a supplemental item. Kathy Humphreys, the city’s director of corporate services, says the hard part was figuring out how to pay for it.

“What we will do is go back and look at the balances in those reserves,” she says. “I mean $350,000 every year for three years is a significant amount of money, so we just need to find out [if] we have enough money in those reserves.”

Humphreys says every year the city already makes roughly $100,000 renting out the training facility that’s already there. The potential for fire departments within the Thompson-Nicola Regional District to start coming to Kamloops instead of Vernon for training might bring that number up.

“Maybe trainers in Merritt or something like that might want to come to Kamloops instead of driving all the way to Vernon,” Humphrey says. "Because time obviously is money for all of those staff that aren’t on the ground working in their communities.”

This and other supplemental items on the budget will be finalized on March 5, including their funding source. Then on April 16 the city will set the 2019 property tax rates.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Behind the scenes look at Kamloops Fire Rescue training


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