VIDEO: Behind the scenes look at Kamloops Fire Rescue training | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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VIDEO: Behind the scenes look at Kamloops Fire Rescue training

Kamloops firefighters train are learning how to safely extract people from a damaged car at their training facility located on Bunker Road on Thursday, July 19, 2018.

KAMLOOPS - It takes about 60 seconds for a firefighter to suit up for an emergency call.

But before a firefighter even reaches for their personal protective equipment, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes before they respond to a call. When they’re not actively responding to an emergency, firefighters are training on how to better prepare themselves for fires, assist with medical calls, car accidents and much more.

A career as a firefighter can be challenging. The job entails risking your life to save others in danger, working long hour shifts and not to mention they’re constantly exposed to harmful toxins from smoke that could cause serious diseases such as lung cancer over time. But as fire and building codes become more standardized, structure fires are actually becoming less common across the province — including in Kamloops.

Kamloops Fire Rescue assistant chief Robb Schoular says in recent years a big part of firefighting is actually responding to emergency calls that do not involve fires.

“The number of fires we attend to per year is actually going down, which means we are doing a very proactive job in preventing fires,” Schoular says.

The majority of calls Kamloops Fire Rescue responded to last year were medical calls. Last year, firefighters responded to more than 4,000 calls to deal with medical assistance, according to the annual corporate services and community safety report

“Besides firefighting, we go to motor vehicle incidents, medical assist calls, false alarms, smoke alarms, you name it, we are there,” Schoular says.

Currently, Kamloops Fire Rescue has 129 full-time firefighters and approximately 20 to 40 auxiliary firefighters and they all receive four weeks of basic training when they are first hired, and ongoing training throughout their career.

Kamloops firefighters do a lot of practice safely removing passengers from vehicles. They do this at their training facility centre located at the end of Bunker Road in Sahali.

"Extracting patients out of vehicles and primary patient care is a big part of what we do," he says. 

Schoular says firefighters are learning to adapt to changes in their roles as first responders as fighting fires becomes less common. 

"We also go to water and ice rescues, as well as assisting with disaster relief, floods, and power outages," Schoular says. "We are also involved with some traffic management at the scene of accidents and we also do some clean-up of spills as a result of the accident."

It's a career filled with danger but also a lot of passion, says Schoular.

“Firefighting can be a very dangerous profession but it's certainly a rewarding occupation.”

— This story was updated at 8:12 a.m. Friday, July 20, 2018 to correct the spelling of Kamloops in the headline.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2018

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