Renfrew -- Fire Chief Kevin Welsh should soon hear if a grant he applied for from the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office will be approved.
He applied for the grant without council’s permission due to the turn-around time, which was eight days.
Councillor Sandi Heins told council at a recent meeting the announcement was made March 11 and the application had to be into the Fire Marshal’s Office by March 19.
“The chief had some really awesome ideas in regards to what to use the money for,” she said. “It’s for training priorities and it’s a one-time grant.”
Chief Welsh said the Fire Marshall was apologetic the monies had to be identified by March 19 for approval and distribution by March 31.
He noted the minimum amount of the grant is $4,500 and for Renfrew, the maximum to receive is $6,600 based on population.
The priorities identified were for fire prevention elements and other ways to increase any opportunity for training, he said.
Chief Welsh said there are three things for his department in the application.
The first is to purchase 10 copies of the international firefighting training service manual at $135 per unit.
“We wanted to have enough training manuals and workbooks for each firefighter,” he said. “This reduces the exposure by sharing. They can be at home, especially our volunteers, in a safe environment making preparations they will need to do at training.”
Another application is for a DVD series that all standards of firefighting are associated with, which is the elements of competency in fire service. This is a 10-video set, and again, they can be used at home as they learn the essential skill sets they need to have for firefighting. This will cost about $2,400.
While the bricks and mortar of the Ontario Fire College has closed, it will continue to provide blended programming, Chief Welsh said. Firefighters will attend regional training centres, at an increased cost from what the college used to charge, as well as online training, he said. There are two individuals who are being trained to 1041 Level 2, which is a fire safety instructor, he said.
“This can be achieved through a blended course, which is online and attend a regional campus for two weekends,” Chief Welsh said. “The funding will help offset costs with those individuals who will attend the regional training centres.”
These firefighters can then train on-duty staff and volunteers to ensure they are at a level of competency they need to be for fighting fires, he explained.
Chief Welsh apologized for not being able to bring the information to council for approval, but the “timing of submissions weren’t such we could get council’s approval.”
Disaster Going To Hit Renfrew
In late summer or early fall, there is going to be an emergency situation in Renfrew that will test the skillsets of emergency personnel.
Coun. Heins explained there have been good discussions in regard “to the nature and timing of our annual emergency plan exercise and training.
“We are going to stage it just like an emergency, so it will happen and people will be fitting into their roles. If they’re absent, their alternatives will be required to be there.”
Chief Welsh and the emergency team are working on this project, she said.
Coun. Heins wouldn’t give details of the emergency.
“We have a pretty unique idea of the nature of the emergency, but we’re not sharing anything until after the emergency so that people just react to exactly what they need to know and learn from that and where the training needs to happen after we do the debriefing,” she said.
Connie Tabbert, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader