Fire dept receives $10K for training

Enbridge Senior Land Agent Norm Cassidy, center, presents a cheque to the Cornwall Fire Department on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016 at the fire station on Fourth Street. Receiving the $10,000 cheque are Training Officer Murray Fenton and Fire Chief Pierre Voisine. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – The Cornwall Fire Department has received $10,000 in order to help train its firefighters and fire officers.

A representative from Enbridge was at the fire station on Fourth Street on Monday afternoon to present a cheque for the grant from the natural gas distribution company.

The money will be used to set up portable classrooms and buy shipping containers for “live burn” exercises.

“We’ll have both search and rescue training. We can hopefully simulate real fire conditions in a controlled atmosphere. We use it to develop the firefighters and the officers so when they’re on the job they’re ready to go,” Training Officer Murray Fenton told Cornwall Newswatch.

Fenton said, up until now, the fire department has been leasing a burn house on Industrial Drive in Ottawa. “It’s become a very costly venture. But now if we can develop something here and get the stuff in-house, we’ll be able to keep is local and use it locally.”

Fire Chief Pierre Voisine said having local training is crucial.

“We can’t build a training center from our taxes. Things are tight with the budget. We are trying to find nickel and dimes here to make everything balance. For me to come in and ask for an expensive training facility like that, it would never happen,” Voisine told Newswatch.

“This really will take us a long way into this project,” the chief said.

Voisine said the money will help but won’t replace all the training – some of it has to be done at the Ontario Fire College in Gravenhurst, Ont. “If we can take care of a lot of our skill trade stuff as much as possible here…then it helps us on our overtime budget.”

The localized training center, to be built on the old soccer bubble site on Saunders Drive, is expected to be in place by the spring of 2017.

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