Firefighting training available

·2 min read

Stay safe, and “make a difference” through certified training programs that aim to assist contract fire crews with various safety certification programs.

Ashley O’Neil and Sean O’Neill are currently recruiting First Nations, Métis and Inuit firefighters to complete training for firefighting and forestry.

“We’re hoping to do some training in the Columbia Valley this April or May,” said O’Neil, adding the schedule and the delivery of the programs are dependent on the success of the COVID-19 vaccination program offered to those with status cards on-reserves.

There are currently 27 programs available through O’Neill Consulting Ltd., including topics such as Bear Aware, Helicopter Safety, BC Hydro Green Card Certification, Introduction to Tree Species of B.C., Emergency Response Plans, Operational Fuel Management, Helicopter Safety and much more.

With the provincial safety restrictions in-place for the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of training courses that are available will begin with an online component through Zoom and then an in-person training session will be scheduled when safe to do so.

O’Neill was unavailable for comment before the Pioneer went to press.

The required gear and safety equipment for each program will be provided to all program participants.

“To me, it’s super important because that’s what I want to do for work, but I always say it has to spark someone’s interest to do the job well,” said O’Neil. “But it’s important because there’s a lack of firefighters and we’re going through a huge climate change. Our fires are getting bigger and bigger, but our resources are getting smaller, smaller.”

A prerequisite for completing the training is to pass a physical fitness test for firefighting training.

For more information about the physical fitness training for firefighting or questions about any of the programs, contact O’Neil at 306-480-5569 or with O’Neill Consulting Ltd., Wildland Firefighting and Irish Creek Training.

Breanne Massey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Columbia Valley Pioneer