The Ontario Fire Marshal’s office has donated $5,400 to the Blind River Fire Department in a bid to provide improved firefighter training. The funding will purchase training videos and modules, inspection cameras, digital workstations, and hard-copy literature.
“This funding will allow Blind River to train its firefighters locally, enhance how we deliver training, and ensure we accommodate a variety of volunteers who are facing various work/life balance challenges as a result of COVID-19,” Chief Ken Raymond said. “COVID-19 eliminated all training opportunities for our volunteers. We have in-house development occurring, but the entire team has been anxious to access updated information and modules. Many of our firefighters are long-term volunteers seeking to learn and continuously develop their skills. This grant will allow us to do just that.”
Raymond noted the department continues to work on attracting new volunteers to its 17-member department. Communities rely on citizens such as volunteer firefighters to assist in emergencies and fires and donate time to save lives.
“We have to update to meet the lifestyle of our recruits. We have a variety of people interested who are facing various challenges as a result of the pandemic. Not everyone can drop everything for weeks of rigorous in-class training. Our digital updates will undoubtedly make our onboarding process more attractive to residents genuinely wanting to help their community,” the chief said.
The grant is intended to provide fire departments with the flexibility to support priority areas. The grant can be put towards ongoing training needs, including registration, administrative programming, technology upgrades and associated costs for attending, and providing services according to a statement from the Fire Marshal’s office.