More firefighters are interested in the Laurier training center


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Officials from several Ontario fire departments are interested in seeing firsthand the training center that the Laurier Fire Department has established.

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Fire Chief Tim Hollands and his 12 volunteer firefighters set up the facility in response to the Ontario College of Firefighters in Gravenhurst which closed its training component last year.

Recently, two high-ranking fire commanders from the province visited the local facility and asked Hollands to consider turning it into a regional training center.

He is still considering their request.

And after attending the Northwest Fire Conference in Thunder Bay, Hollands said fire officials at that event indicated they were also interested in seeing what the Laurier Fire Department created. .

Word has spread among the firefighting community of what the department, which serves about 200 residents, has accomplished with just $16,000.

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Among the training props is a model highway where firefighters place an abandoned vehicle to work on their extrication techniques.

Firefighters can also create a rescue procedure by simulating a T-collision.

They also have a C-can where the real fire maneuvers can be carried out and the volunteers are working on fire attack methods.

At the conference, Hollands spoke to about 15 officials from various fire departments who indicated they would like to see the local training center at some point.

“If they all went down, I don’t know,” Hollands said.

He added that they certainly like what the local fire department has been able to do with limited money.

Hollands says there were more than two dozen fire departments at the Thunder Bay conference and, combined with municipal representation, there were about 150 delegates.

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At the event, Hollands was able to offer advice to his counterparts on where to find grants that could help them and he adds that he made “good contacts”, including one involving the department’s fire chief. Manitouwadge fire.

Manitouwadge is a small community located halfway between Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Married.

“I had a really good conversation with him,” Hollands said.

“I showed him pictures of our training center and then out of the blue he asked if I could use it.”

It was a self-contained breathing apparatus compressor that filled air cylinders used by firefighters when fighting fires.

Brand new, these compressors sell for around $18,000.

“He said I wanted to donate this for your training facility and I want to come down to see it,” Hollands said of the Manitouwadge fire chief.

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“I made him an offer and he countered it with a ridiculously low amount and said his town council needed the compressor sold.”

This lower offer was $1,000, which Hollands accepted.

Hollands says officials from the Thunder Bay Fire Department in Wasaga Beach who were at the conference said they wanted to see the training center.

Normally Hollands will travel to the Northeast Fire Conference, but this time he and his assistant fire chief Ken Cropper headed further north to the Thunder Bay event.

Hollands said he was glad he did because the conference was “a real eye-opener”.

As small as the Laurier Fire Department’s budget was, he said “there was a fire department that had no budget at all and all it got was fundraising. “.

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works at the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

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