Local volunteer firefighters with the Cariboo Regional District studied hazardous material training the weekend of Nov. 6 in Williams Lake.
“Because there are so many hazardous materials being transported on railways and highways it is a way of making sure we are kept safe and keep the public safe,” said Kathy Ferguson, regional fire services supervisor for the CRD who applied for funding to offer the course.
“It’s important to be able to recognize these materials and know what we have to do to protect the public and the environment.”
Twenty-one students attended the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) course and through that they achieve Pro Board Accredited Hazmat Certification which they can use towards further firefighting training and certification toward becoming professional firefighters.
The IAFF has put this on numerous times in the province and Canada, she said, noting the course ran Friday evening for four hours and nine hours on both Saturday and Sunday.
Firefighters from five of the 14 CRD-governed fire departments attended as well as three people from West Kelowna, Pemberton and Chilliwack fire departments.
“This training was probably provided in their areas, but for some reason they had missed it so they travelled up here for the instruction,” Ferguson said
She is planning to invite the IAFF back to teach another course, but said it will probably take place somewhere in the South Cariboo.
“The Williams Lake Fire Department (WLFD) allowed us to use their facility this time and that was great,” she said, adding she is a member of the WLFD.
Praising the two IAFF presenters, Ferguson said they were phenomenal, knowledgeable and made the material understandable.
“All of the participants were really glad they took the course. They got a lot out of it and they bring all that back to their own fire departments to train their own members. It’s a really great program.”
Participants do practical and classroom components during the three days of training.
Ferguson said the more education the volunteers can receive, the better.
“Many of them work full time and we are asking a lot of them,” she added. “We have to make sure they have as much information as they can.”