Two local first responder groups started in on some new training last week to make them even more prepared in event of emergency.
The West Boundary Road Rescue and the Midway Volunteer Fire Department teamed up over the weekend to do the first half of their auto extrication training. The course, taught by an instructor from College of the Rockies, equips firefighters and first responders with the skills needed to get people out of serious car accidents where the car may be crushed or partially collapsed.
Five members of the Midway fire department took the course, in addition to five members of the West Boundary Road Rescue. The two-day exercise is just the first half of the course, which the group will complete in the spring once they can do more practical work outside.
Instructor Darren Lee said the group will continue to do course work over the winter until he returns in the spring to take the group through more hands-on training.
On Sunday morning the group practiced using the jaws of life on a scrap car after completing some classroom work indoors. Road rescue leader Tom Lesher said all the members passed the preliminary test with flying colours, including several who scored 100 per cent.
The training takes participants through using the jaws of life and other extrication tools in addition to information about the construction of cars and airbags.
Both Lesher and Midway Fire Chief Walt Osellame said they were thrilled that the two groups are now collaborating on training – it’s a good step for two groups that have the shared goal of working to make sure everyone makes it home safely at the end of the day.
For members of the fire department, working on their auto extrication training is one part of completing their National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 10-01 training. That training is the standard for career firefighters, and goes above and beyond the requirements for a volunteer department, Osellame said.
Seven members of the department currently have that certification, and more are working towards it all the time.
Osellame and Lesher both give their team lots of credit for completing this additional training – it means time away from families over the weekend, and the training certainly isn’t easy.
The West Boundary Road Rescue team services the area from the Wilgress Lake rest stop to Beaverdell and Bridesville.
The Midway Volunteer Fire Department services Midway and the Kettle Valley Fire Protection area.