New firefighter training centre in the works for Chilliwack

Chilliwack Fire Department personnel seen at a live burn training session. A new training facility is set to be built on Wolfe Road this year. - CHILLIWACK PROGRESS FILE
Chilliwack Fire Department personnel seen at a live burn training session. A new training facility is set to be built on Wolfe Road this year.

It will make a big difference once the Chilliwack Fire Department has its own dedicated space for training.

Construction of a new training centre should begin some time later this year on Wolfe Road, said Chilliwack Fire Chief Ian Josephson, of the Chilliwack Fire Department.

"We will start with one building, which will be more of a garage type structure," said Josephson. "There are lots of advantages to a dedicated training centre."

It's not confirmed yet if they'll be conducting any "live" burns on the fire training grounds.

But they will have a dedicated truck assigned for training purposes, so they won't have to take any of the firetrucks out of service, and they won't have to rely on Hall 1 for a training site anymore.

The construction will have several phases, and at this point the plan is somewhat fluid.

Once built, the training activities will be conducted under the watchful eye of Andy Brown, Assistant Fire Chief of Training.

The training centre has been a priority, listed as a line item on the City of Chilliwack budget before, but it looks like it will actually be heading into the first phase of construction in the near future.

"It's been in the budget five or six times," Josephson said.

A sign should be going up shortly on the site, adjacent the CARE animal control site, said the fire chief, proclaiming it as the future site of the Fire Department's new training centre.

It will be close to a $1.5 million project, for servicing, construction, and training equipment. A budget total of $573,000 is listed in the 10-year Financial Plan for the training grounds in 2016, and another $195,000 for 2017.

They don't have to acquire the property, as it's city land and it's been secured for use by the fire department.

Since there are fewer structure fires than in the past in Chilliwack, it means some of the local firefighters might obtain less fire suppression experience out in the field than in the past.

"In some cases, that experience level is not there, so more training is considered crucial.  From a safety perspective it's critical that we train and keep our skills sharp," he added.

"Safety is everything."


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