Island firefighters looking forward to arrival of mobile live fire training unit in early June

Firefighters around Manitoulin Island will have the chance to undertake live structural fire training in early June, with the mobile life fire training unit (shown in photo) being set up in Little Current.

GORE BAY—Firefighters around Manitoulin Island will have the opportunity to undergo live structural fire training early next month, with the mobile live fire training unit heading to Little Current.

“Because of the closure of the Ontario Firefighters College (OFC) about a year ago the OFC will be coming up here with the mobile live fire training unit,” said Duncan Sinclair, deputy fire chief of the Gore Bay volunteer fire department. “They have two of these units, one for southern Ontario and one for the North. As soon as heard about the chance of having the unit here for a few days I put in an application for the unit. I wanted it here for Island firefighters.”

“Because we don’t get a lot of live structure fires on the Island, there is not necessarily the experience or knowledge as firefighter crews in larger areas would have,” said Mr. Sinclair. “This unit will allow us to have live structural fire training. With this unit you can smoke it up and move around the walls so the configuration is different. There are two main areas for actual fires, one being a sofa fire and the other being the opportunity to fight a kitchen fire.”

Mr. Sinclair noted the fire training unit has an entrance from the main floor, so firefighters can traverse a live fire experience by going up the stairs to a second storey to fight a fire, or start from the top floor and traverse down to the main floor area to put out a fire.

“The unit can also mimic a roll over, so when a firefighter is walking toward a fire at the end of a hallway, as the flames hit the ceiling the fire can roll over the firefighter and can end up behind you,” explained Mr. Sinclair. He pointed out, “generally we won’t endanger a life for a house on fire. This (live training) will allow firefighters to recognize the danger signs.”

“There is also a section on the mobile unit roof which mimics the potential different pitches of a roof where firefighters can look at how to ventilate an attic or roof to attack an attic fire,” said Mr. Sinclair. “There is a lot of invaluable fire training firefighters can gain by working on this fire unit.”

“The fire training unit looks like a sea container,” said Mr. Sinclair. The unit is a full-sized transport trailer (16 metres [53 feet] long) with a pop-up second floor (total assembled height of just over six metres).” The total operating weight of the trailer (including full consumables on board) is approximately 23,000 kg.

“I had to pick one of three date ranges as to when we would like it here on the island for training sessions,” said Mr. Sinclair.

NEMI Fire Department is hosting the OFC at the Little Current recreation centre parking lot. There are several safety features on the unit that will allow the instructor to initiate the system and monitor operation so that they can identify problems and, if necessary, terminate the live fire.

The costs for having the unit on the Island are being taken care of entirely by the OFC.

“The mobile live fire training unit will be dropped off on June 2 on the Island and we will be able to start training from June 3-6,” said Mr. Sinclair.