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In Yukon Firefighters' new simulator, the flames are real

Yukon firefighters are using a new $750,000 mobile training centre which can be towed to small communities.

Trailer lets firefighters train for fires in small spaces like mobile homes

Dark, narrow hallways filled with smoke: Even a seasoned firefighter can get claustrophobic. (Brian Boyle/CBC)

You could call it hell on wheels:  A mobile trailer that simulates some of the most dangerous conditions for a firefighter. 

 

Yukon firefighters are hoping a new mobile training centre will provide a literal "trial by fire" giving them the experience they need in the safest environment possible. 

 

The $750,000 training centre can be towed to most Yukon communities. Propane fires and thick non-toxic smoke can be turned on or off at the flick of a switch.

 

Most firefighters in the Yukon start their training with outdoor fire simulators but the new simulator will provide hands-on experience with fires in closed spaces. 

Like a nightmarish carnival ride, the mobile trailer can produce flames and smoke on demand.

At the trailer's unveiling in Whitehorse, Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski and Community Services Minister Elaine Taylor both wore protective suits and entered the fire.  

Yukon Fire Marshall Dennis Berry joked to reporters. "I hope today is a day that will go down in history as the beginning of a new chapter in the fire service. I hope it isn't the day that we bake alive the minister and the premier," he said.

Volunteer firefighter Andrew Hyde, who has experienced the trailer first-hand, said it's useful to train in a realistic setting.

"We don't get a lot of experience as volunteers just because of call volumes and that sort of thing so it is really necessary to practice as though it is a live drill every time," he said.  

Yukon’s fire marshall is now planning a territory-wide tour across Yukon communities.

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