Thunder Bay

Kenora fire department considers building fire training centre

The Kenora Fire Department is considering possibly constructing its own regional fire training centre, but such a facility is still a long way from being a certainty, the municipality's fire chief said.

Centre could offer training opportunities for nearby communities

Kenora's fire chief says the municipality is considering building its own fire training centre. (Kenora Fire / Facebook)

The Kenora Fire Department is considering the possibility constructing its own regional fire training centre, but such a facility is still a long way from being a certainty, the municipality's fire chief said.

It takes a lot of planning and you've got to do some business plans," Kenora Fire Chief Todd Skene said Thursday. "I think it'll take a bit of time to pull that together."

Skene said the project would also require signing a contract with the Ontario Fire College, so training courses could be delivered.

"It's something we're considering and hopefully can do in the future," Skene said. "So we'll see."

Skene said if a training facility were to be constructed in the Kenora area, it would be similar to the training centre in Thunder Bay and be able to train firefighters from surrounding municipalities.

Skene's statements came about two weeks before the planned closure of the Ontario Fire College's campus in Gravenhurst, Ontario, and a resulting shift to a regional training model.

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In a statement to CBC News, a spokesperson for the Office of the Fire Marshal said training will be offered through a combination of in-person courses at regional fire training centres and online courses.

Ontario has also purchased two mobile live-fire training units, which will be available for use by fire services in the province later this year.

One of the units will be based in northern Ontario and one in southern Ontario, and they can be booked by fire services that don't have access to regional training centres with live-fire training capacity.

The province said it will also be expanding the number of regional fire training centres moving forward. Currently, there are 20 centres in Ontario.

Skene said the closure of the Gravenhurst campus won't have a major effect on the Kenora Fire Department, as the service's firefighters were rarely sent there for training due to the distance that had to be travelled.

"We really haven't sent anybody for a number of years down there," he said. "The thing that's going to be missed is there is some specialized training that's down there."

"There is specialized training on, you know, sprinkler systems and alarm systems and all that," Skene said.

Kenora did send firefighters to the Thunder Bay facility for training and conducts its own training in-house, he said.

"With change, I always say there's opportunity," Skene said. "We've been delivering our own programs internally for a number of years. And we actually have been training other departments, surrounding departments, when we're doing our recruit training."

"So it's just expanding on that, as far as I see."