The Lunenburg and District Fire Department respond to a variety of emergencies such as general fires, motor vehicle collisions, elevated rescue, initial hazardous material incidents, medical first response, and general emergencies.
Because of this, members have to be trained for anything they may be called upon.
For a fire fighter to become a member of a specific team, they first have to attend the initial training, usually done by an outside agency. Once they are trained, they are required to do continuous training, either in-house, or outside the department.
Members first joining the department, who do not have any type of training, are required to obtain their Fire Fighter Level 1. This is taught by instructors of the Nova Scotia Fire Fighters School in Waverly, but hosted by departments in Lunenburg County. Presently members are going to Bridgewater for this training. Members have 2 years to acquire this course after joining the department.
Once a fire fighter completes the Level 1 course, they may take the required training and join one of the speciality teams in the department. Requirements for each differ and there are General Operating Guidelines, (GOG’s), for each, outlining the requirements needed to become one of these team members.
The Lunenburg and District Fire department recognizes the fact that today, members’ time to commit to the department is limited. Years ago, it was a male dominant department, and most members worked local, regular Monday to Friday “9 to 5” jobs that allowed them to attend evening or weekend training, while most wives didn’t work and stayed home to “look after the kids”.
Today, with shift work, spouses working, and local jobs not as common, members are finding it difficult to attend the regular general practices held on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month.
Although work and family commitments definitely come first, is does not mean that a member can miss a majority of their training, and still be able to respond to an emergency. By not keeping up on training, even the simplest of tasks may be easily forgotten, putting themselves, other members and the public in danger.
In 2008, a log book specific to the Lunenburg and District Fire Department, were created.
This Log Book covers a basic list of skills for each service provided, and the members have a 2 year term to complete them. The first term started in January of 2009, and recently ended at the end of December, 2010. If a member did not get their skills complete at the end of the term, they are not permitted to respond on a truck to an emergency. After this period, the member has six months to complete them. After that their status will be reviewed.
This gives members a chance to complete their skills at general practices, during an emergency, or may get together with other members at any time that is convenient for them.
Members meet on the second Wednesday of the month to do truck checks. There are 8 Crews, and they rotate each month from truck to truck.During the checks, each compartment is checked to ensure the equipment is there, and in proper working order. Lights, siren, and general operation of the truck are also checked. After the truck check, members than take an hour to an hour and half to complete a set of their skills from their log books. The general monthly meeting is held after that.
On the fourth Wednesday evening there is an evening long training session that includes fire fighting, water/ice rescue, boat operations and vehicle extrication.
Some of the courses attended by various members in 2010 were;
- Elevator Rescue
- Aerial Operations
- Vehicle Extrication
- Medical First Responder
- Pumper Operations
- Various fire fighter conferences
Members have attended thousands of hours of training in 2010, and 2011 looks to be just as busy.