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Firefighters from all over B.C. learn from colleagues as they train in Parksville Qualicum Beach

A dozen firefighters representing departments from around the province did some extreme training at the top of Little Mountain in Errington on Sunday. The rope rescue exercise included lowering brave volunteers down a steep cliff and bringing them back up safely with some state-of-the-art pulley systems.  Errington Volunteer Fire Department chief Troy Bater, who participated in the training, said the EVFD will be investing in their own rope rescue equipment and members will be participating in similar training soon.  - BRENDA GOUGH PHOTO
A dozen firefighters representing departments from around the province did some extreme training at the top of Little Mountain in Errington on Sunday. The rope rescue exercise included lowering brave volunteers down a steep cliff and bringing them back up safely with some state-of-the-art pulley systems. Errington Volunteer Fire Department chief Troy Bater, who participated in the training, said the EVFD will be investing in their own rope rescue equipment and members will be participating in similar training soon.
— image credit: BRENDA GOUGH PHOTO

More than 200 firefighters from 90 different departments in the province are in Parksville this week.

For the first time ever, Parksville is playing host to the annual B.C. Fire Training Officers Conference May 24 - 29.

"It's excellent," said Parksville Fire Capt. Mike Davidson. "The last time this conference was even on the Island was about ten years ago in Courtney."

Davidson said the conference brings together a range of firefighters from deputy chiefs to regular members.

"The idea is that different departments can learn from one another," said Davidson, noting the week is split between hands-on training and classroom work.

Over the weekend the Parksville training grounds hosted different courses such as auto extraction, tender and pumping operations and forcible entry training; training sessions were also set up at Little Mountain in Errington for high angle rope rescue; and classroom work and key note presentations were set up at Tigh-Na-Mara Resort.

"Fire science is changing," said Davidson, noting the importance of annual conferences such as this one. "And because it's evolving our tactics have to change too."

Davidson said hosting the event has been "a lot of hard work but worthwhile" and extends his gratitude to the fire department's main sponsors, Quality Foods, FortisBC, and JIBC.

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