Four fire fighters from Sooke participated in the vehicle extraction course that was held on Friday afternoon at the Metchosin Fire Station. Here

Fire fighters converge on Sooke for training

Weekend provided multiple opportunities for learning life saving skills

Britt Santowski

Sooke News Mirror

This past weekend saw over 100 firefighters in action in Sooke, Otter Point, East Sooke and Metchosin.

Thank goodness it wasn’t to cover a fire!

Rather, it was to accommodated a Regional Training Weekend that had over 120 registered students, including both career and volunteer firefighters. Courses included Auto Extrication and Firefighter Rescue (Metchosin), Aerial Ladder Tactics and Marina Firefighting (Sooke), Live Fire Training and Fire Officer Courses (Otter Point), and Driver and Fire Pump Operator training (East Sooke).

In total, nine courses were offered.

According to Cam Norris-Jones, the fire fighter at the heart of organizing the training weekend, the commitment by all fire fighters was unparalleled.

“All the guys here have either taken two days off work or (have done) shift rescheduling … or given up a weekend to be here.”

The bond among the fire fighters from the four hosting locations is a growing one. They’ve tended many emergencies together, including the recent fire at the Evergreen mall in Sooke.

“We’ve got four departments working together right now … It’s really good relationship building that we got right now,” said Norris-Jones. “One of the main objectives was to get the four departments helping each other out, working together, and just really benefitting our mutual aid partners.”

And as per the news released issued by the Sooke Fire Chief Steven Sorensen, it wasn’t high working adrenaline all weekend; there was also some substantive play adrenaline as well. On Friday evening, participants had an “opportunity for a Zip Lining adventure,” and Saturday evening saw a networking BBQ at the Sooke Fire Hall.

“Fortunately,” said wrote Norris Jones in a follow-up email, “the rain stopped for the tours. All the people ziplining had a great time.”

According to the Sooke District’s website, “all members of the Department are trained to NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) Standards, with many achieving Professional Qualifications in NFPA 1001 Level 2.” In plain English, according to the NFPA.org website, NFPA 1001 refers to the standard for fire fighter professionals. Level 2 refers to the highest (of two) levels.

“This standard identifies the minimum job performance requirements (JPRs) for career and volunteer fire fighters whose duties are primarily structural in nature,” states the NFPA website.

Courses are offered regularly through the District, of Sooke though this is the first co-hosted regional training weekend. Sixteen fire departments were invited to attend.