Create an Account - Increase your productivity, customize your experience, and engage in information you care about.
The High Level Fire Department’s wildland urban interface training program is designed to bring together structural firefighters and wildland firefighters into an area of firefighting that requires the best from both groups – wildland urban interface firefighting.
The two disciplines of firefighting – while related – at times employ very different strategies. Through hybrid training, firefighters from both disciplines learn each others’ jobs and strengths.
This week, HLFD members trained alongside Dene Tha’ First Nation wildland firefighters and the Town’s new Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) team to learn more about this specialized firefighting with a three-day training program blending classroom learning with field training. It was the first major training program involving the WUI Team.
“This was a really good opportunity for us,” said Rodney Schmidt, Director of Protective Services and High Level Fire Chief. “They are our neighbours.
“So we had an opportunity to meet them. They are a great group and are really interested in the program. There is some relationship-building at the same time.”
The Dene Tha’ wildland firefighters represented nearby First Nations communities of Bushe River, Meander River, and Chateh.
Beginning on Tuesday and wrapping up on Thursday, the course covered structural protection, engine use, sprinkling operations, and site preparation in terms of community protection. The Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) team took the course as a refresher and to experience it from a teaching environment.
Following two days of classroom work, the firefighters traveled to Bushe River and looked at the housing and other areas, identified hazards, and looked at strategies for fire protection.
They also took part in sprinkler setup in the HLFD training facility.
“It was the first time the wildland guys had ever done building sprinkling,” said Schmidt.
They ended the day with an engine operations course, where they used fluorescent flag tape to simulate embers entering a community.
“We throw flagging tape all over the ground to simulate fires, and they chase it through that little subdivision,” said Schmidt. “We had a brush truck and our wildland interface engine. For the wildland firefighters, it was the first time they had used fire apparatus for (that type of operation). It gives our crew a little additional practice on some of our equipment as well – which is always good.”
For the next month, the WUI team will be going over the course in order to prepare for another important aspect of their jobs – teaching WUI firefighting strategies to other municipal fire departments.
“This is a proven course, and it does the job,” said Schmidt. “Our team is very competent at what they do, so this was a chance for them to see it from an instructor perspective.”