Changes to fire training requirements
Published Wednesday, October 10, 2018 6:35PM EDT
Earlier this week, the Ford government announced it was revoking the firefighter certification regulation brought in by the previous Ontario Liberal government.
Many local departments and municipalities were concerned about resources required to comply, but now have some ideas on how to move forward with volunteer training.
While volunteer firefighters will now have more time to get certified, it's not the training that fire chiefs in the north are worried about.
“If you look at it, we are expected to do the same job. The biggest challenge in volunteer departments, they have other full-time jobs that they're trying to deal with.” said Frank Loeffen, East Ferris Fire Chief.
Sending these volunteers away to school is what has fire chiefs concerned.
As it stands, to get certified, volunteer firefighters must apply to a program in Gravenhurst, where they attend classes anywhere from one to three weeks. And spaces in the program are limited.
Some would like to see a certified trainer brought in to each station, or even a central location in northern Ontario, where firefighters could get the required training close to home.
“It would definitely make it a lot easier for smaller departments, volunteer departments, to bring somebody in and test on different modules and not have to do it in a short time frame.” said Loeffen.
Bill Cox is the Fire Chief of Powassan.
“To ask a volunteer and his family to sacrifice two weeks three weeks, whatever it takes out of their holidays, to go to college, it's just a little awkward for a lot of them and we’re afraid we just might end up losing a lot of volunteers.” said Cox.
Later this month, the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs will meet with a number of fire chiefs from the north to further discuss how to achieve mandatory training and certification.