Nelson firefighter Scott Jeffery practises an escape drill using a ladder. Nelson Fire and Rescue members had access to unique equipment last week for survival training. Photo: Tyler Harper

VIDEO: Nelson firefighters learn survival techniques

A specialized trailer offers members unique mayday scenario drills

Capt. Bob Patton hopes Nelson’s firefighters never need to use the training they received last week.

A specialized trailer that includes unique props used to train firefighters in mayday scenarios is being loaned out across the province by the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters. Its current stop is in Nelson.

“We do training at the hall annually, but having this trailer here with all this equipment, we don’t have access to second-floor bailouts and certain aspects,” he said.

“Just having this trailer here allows us to get even more training. We do training, but we don’t have the props.”

Every Nelson Fire and Rescue member will participate in the training over a two-week period. They’ll learn how to cut through wires in tight spaces, dangle safely outside windows and evacuate buildings head-first using ladders.

The training also emphasizes staying calm. During a training session, for example, one firefighter was crawling down a ladder when his radio became detached and caught on a rung.

“We want to ensure our members are trained so they are confident, they remain calm,” said Patton. “We use a term BOA — breathing, organize and act. So that way we have clear-head thinking. If we’re mobile inside a building and we’re lost, we want to find a hose line, we want to find our unit, we want to find windows so we can self-rescue.”

Patton, who completed the training last year in Kelowna, said the techniques come in handy. He’s never been in what he would call a life-threatening situation during his 23-year career, but he wants to be ready for one if it happens.

“We don’t want to put our members into those environments, but you just never know if you are working inside a fire and have a roof collapse. … We want to ensure we’re ready through this training that we can get through that stuff.”

Related:

Tied by tragedy and miracle: Survivors of 1955 Strathcona Hotel blaze thank Nelson firefighters

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