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BWG Fire first in province to test out new mobile training unit

The solicitor general was in town today to launch the first mobile fire training unit in Ontario

Solicitor General Sylvia Jones was in Bradford this morning accompanied by Ontario Fire Marshal Jon Pegg and York-Simcoe MPP Caroline Mulroney to announce the province's first of two new mobile live fire training units. 

The purpose of the units is to help support fire services' firefighter training needs.  The units are part of expanding and modernizing access to firefighting training in Ontario. 

The first unit launched over the weekend at the Bradford fire station on Melbourne Drive and will be made available immediately to fire services in southern and central Ontario. The second unit, expected to be completed by December 2021, will be available to fire services in northern Ontario in early 2022.

Mulroney was pleased to announce the first unit will be utilized by BWG firefighters over the next two weeks. 

"We're giving more opportunity for firefighters to equip themselves with the training and the insight that will help them when on scene when stakes are at their highest," she said.  "This robust technology...will make our community a safer place for every single person who calls Bradford home."

She thanked Jones for spearheading the initiative, and the firefighters in Bradford and across York-Simcoe. 

"They are the everyday heroes in our community," said Mulroney. 

“As we work to build safer communities across Ontario, ensuring that firefighters continue to have access to the latest world-class training is critically important,” said Jones. “With the introduction of these new mobile live fire training units, fire services will be able to have access to high quality, live-fire training in their own communities. These units are a critical part of our government’s plan to expand fire training by making the investments needed to help ensure
public safety.”

The units are 16m (53 feet) in length and are designed to operate at Regional Training Centres and all 441 fire departments across the province. 

“We are very pleased to see the unveiling of Ontario’s new Mobile Live Fire Training Units,” said Kevin McNeilly, president of the Firefighters Association of Ontario. “Firefighters in Ontario now have the ability to get this invaluable live-fire training close at hand or from Regional Training Centres. The FFAO would like to thank the Solicitor General and Ontario Fire Marshall’s Office for putting firefighters safety first once again.“

Training on the new units will allow firefighters to experience real flames, extreme heat, high humidity, severely restricted visibility and thick smoke. The simulation training meets the job performance requirements as outlined in the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) training standards. The mobile unit will stay at each fire station for about two weeks, or as long as needed by each service, before moving on to the next station. 

“The new Mobile Live Fire Training Units simulate real situations involving fire – which forms an important part of firefighter training and complements in-class learning. The introduction of the mobile live fire training unit is designed to ensure firefighter training is accessible, affordable, attainable and scalable to all fire services across the province,” said Pegg. 

He encouraged all fire chiefs interested in using the facility to contact the Ontario Fire College to book training sessions. 

The new mobile units provide additional training opportunities for departments, which are supported through courses available online, at local fire departments, through 28 Regional Training Centre and other partnerships.

"We consider it to be an honour and a privilege to be the first fire service to be able to utilize this new state-of-the-art mobile fire training unit," said BWG Fire Chief Brent Thomas. 

Previously fire departments that didn't have their own live training truck had to travel beyond borders to take advantage of a live-training opportunity. 

"Having this prop on site has given us and will give every fire department in the province of Ontario to train at our own pace, to develop and execute scenarios similar to what we respond to in our communities, and also the ability to simulate what we don't don't and should be able to be prepared for," said Thomas. 

"The health and safety of our firefighters and the public is the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs’ main concern and priority,” said OAFC president, Chief Mark MacDonald. “One of the best ways to accomplish this is through widely available modern training practices, equipment, and facilities. These two mobile live fire training units represent a good first step towards modernizing firefighter training and bringing training closer to home."

A demonstration was followed by the announcement, where local media had the opportunity to see the unit in action, with firefighters putting out the flames of a simulated fire at the back end of the unit. 

Natasha Philpott

About the Author: Natasha Philpott

Natasha is the Community Editor for BradfordToday and InnisfilToday. She graduated from the Media Studies program at The University of Guelph-Humber. She lives in Bradford with her husband, two boys and two cats.
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