Essex Fire & Rescue has partnered with the St. Clair College Pre-Service Firefighter Program to offer a temporary, local location, for live fire training for students and veteran firefighters across the region.
There are now three 40 foot containers at the Essex Pollution Control Plant in Essex Centre. These containers allow students, as well as established firefighters, an opportunity to get hands on training with “Class A” live fires, Essex Fire Chief Rick Arnel explained.
“It’s a good, short-term solution,” Arnel said of the Essex Pollution Control Plant location. “After two-and-a-half years, we will re-evaluate.”
Deputy Chief Rick Malott said that the facility will be opened up to other area fire departments that have personnel wanting to use it, in addition to the St. Clair College program.
Malott added its central proximity is ideal for firefighters at all three Essex stations to use, as well as for other fire departments across the County wanting to use the facility.
Site preparation for the temporary location began around a year ago, Malott said, adding the site has been in testing since June. It is a work in progress.
The central location is also ideal for St. Clair College firefighting students. Jeff Pulleyblank, Professor and Coordinator of the Pre-Service Firefighter Program, said prior to being able to use this facility, the students were getting their live fire training in Blyth.
Pulleyblank calls this location and partnership a, “win-win.” Because of the closer location, students are getting more hands-on experience with live fire training.
Training could include ladder training in the future, Malott added.
The partnership was officially established at the February 6 meeting of Essex Council where Essex Council receive and supported the report, “Memorandum of Understanding with St. Clair College” for information, and also authorize Mayor Ron McDermott and Clerk Robert Auger to sign Bylaw 1579 and the Memorandum of Understanding Agreement on behalf of the Town of Essex.
The Memorandum of Understanding states that the Corporation of the Town of Essex desires to enter into a partnership with St Clair College, with respect to the Town providing temporary access and use of certain facilities for the purposes of allowing the College to conduct non-emergency response training drills and exercises, including live fire training as part of its Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training Program.
The report submitted to Council on the matter notes in 2015, County Fire Chiefs made a presentation to regional CAOs, asking to provide an overview of the cooperative training efforts of local fire departments related to programming and facilities. The Essex County Fire Services Training Facilities Feasibility Study was created and noted there was a lack of a nearby suitable facilities to provide live fire training.
The report continues that after the appropriate steering committee review and cost benefit analysis, it was recommended that in the short-term, a common Essex County and City of Windsor fire services live training facility be established in conjunction with the St. Clair College Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training program at the Town of Essex facilities.
During the Council meeting, it was noted St. Clair is responsible for insurance for the building and use for its purposes. They are also responsible for rentals for outside agencies.