A house fire on Sechelt Indian Band Lands Dec. 11 was deliberately set to help train junior members of the Sechelt volunteer fire department in a live fire situation.
The derelict house on the corner of Kwatamus Ave. and Kwetilin St. near Ted Dixon Memorial Park was in need of demolition and the fire department was contacted to help.
“It’s a great opportunity for our newer members to experience a live fire in a controlled situation,” said Sechelt Fire Chief Bill Higgs, noting members of the Sechelt Indian Band were made aware of the burn.
Other emergency service providers and 9-1-1 dispatchers were also notified.
Junior firefighters were made lead hands on the fire ground and the derelict house was set ablaze at around 7 p.m. Wednesday night. Members rolled up on scene just like a regular fire call, assessing the situation and proceeding accordingly. After the fire was put out, the house was then lit again and allowed to burn to the ground while firefighters protected a nearby home with a steady stream of water.
It was invaluable training for volunteers who have taken on the responsibility of fire protection in Sechelt.
Do you think you have what it takes to become a Sechelt volunteer firefighter? The fire department is looking for four to six new recruits to start training in the new year.
“Anyone in good health, who’s over 19 and lives in Sechelt or the Sechelt Indian Band lands and who has a good attitude, that’s what we’re looking for,” added Higgs. “We can work with a lot of things if you have a good attitude.”
Higgs said new members also have to be aware of the time commitment that comes with volunteering — practice every Wednesday night — and a few weekend training exercises a year, not to mention the fire calls that could come in any time day or night 365 days a year.
“We’re not a small organization nor are we not busy. We’re fairly complex now and we’re out all the time. We’re doing all sorts of stuff,” Higgs said. “We’re doing confined space rescue now and we’re doing hazardous material responses, which are a couple of new realms for us.”
Although the fire department responds to many dangerous situations, recruits are taught everything they need to know to stay safe while saving others.
“They aren’t thrown in right away with the senior firefighters. They practise on the same night but they practise separately in the recruit-training program so we don’t pre-suppose any knowledge,” Higgs said. “What we do is train them to the same level and actually a little higher than a career firefighter.”
If you would like to get involved, call the fire hall at 604-885-7017 or stop by the hall at 5525 Trail Ave. from Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. You can also find more information at www.secheltfiredepartment.ca.