A new Calgary Fire Department training program is bringing some relief to some of the city's dry parkland.
Firefighters now have access to five green spaces around the city to practice operating a water pump in an emergency.
Battalion Chief Stu Laird says it's a win-win situation for the city — good for parks and saves time, gas and emissions by letting crews stay closer to their stations to train.
"It's not in the city plan to water this area, so what it does for us is allows a training area where we don't have to try and go all the way out to the training academy — so it lessens our environmental footprint," he said.
The Calgary Fire Department fire training academy is located by Elliston Park in the city's southeast. Although the facility recycles water used in training exercises, Laird says it's still not going to waste at the new park spaces.
"[This] puts water on an area that doesn't usually receive it through the city parks and in that way it reduces the risk of having some sort of grass fire or bush fire."
Laird says it will also allow firefighters to train more frequently.
"Before we had one training facility where we could flow water," he said. "We still have that one, but we also have five other ones. So if you just work those multiples out and see how much more effective it is for us to get our training in."
He also says on-duty crews that are training will still be able to respond to nearby fires.