Members of the Penticton Fire Department were the first firefighters in B.C. to participate in a new provincial course focused on fighting wildfires.
On April 2, members of the local department got their certificate for the Strike Team Task Force Leaders in British Columbia. Fire chief Larry Watkinson says the course will be mandatory for task force leaders who are called out provincially to other communities.
“When we are deployed to help other communities, or our own community, we can work effectively, integrated into the BC Wildfire Service, to protect homes as a strike force or a task force. That means multiple pieces of apparatus protecting communities, all over the province of B.C.,” said Watkinson.
He says the training is a partnership between the Penticton Fire Department, the Office of the Fire Commissioner and the BC Wildfire Service to ensure a united front between all fire department leaders when battling wildfires.
“We are delivering it now so when we do deploy leaders from other municipal fire department organizations, to remote areas in some cases, we can work better as a team, have common terminology and understand the organizational structure of the BC Wildfire Service.”
The participants of the course will learn different strategies and tactics, which will help them efficiently fight wildfires and protect homes as a team, with all the same training and knowledge.
Watkinson said the Penticton Fire Department will once again host over 150 firefighters for the Provincial Wildfire Training Symposium, set for the first week of May.
The BC Wildfire Services wildfire summary for the summer of 2017 saw over 1.2 million hectares of land burnt and
evacuating roughly 65,000 people.