Local fire departments have received a boost in funding from the provincial government to assist with training through the pandemic.
“During COVID, a number of organizations approached the province and asked for some additional funding to recover training for our prevention issues,” said Steve Conn, fire chief for the Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM).
In response to the ask, the province allocated $5 million that will be distributed to the 441 fire departments across Ontario.
“Each fire service getting $4,500 as a base rate, and the Blue Mountains portion is going to be $6,300 with our census population,” Conn continued.
In TBM, the Fire Safety Grant will be directed toward the purchase of a new CPR training mannequin that will allow the department to comply with new training requirements put in place by the Heart and Stroke Foundation earlier this year.
The new recommendations will require the use of an instrumented directive feedback device in all Heart and Stroke courses, which includes skills testing, adult, child, or infant CPR, but excludes first aid.
“These new devices will have a track feedback device in them. So, they will let you know that you're doing the appropriate depth compressions and timing compressions as well as hooking the AED defibrillator to them,” Conn explained.
The CPR training tool comes with a cost of just over $10,000, which Conn said without the grant funding would have been a capital request to council.
With the $6,500 grant, the new training tool will cost the town $3,815, which will be drawn from the fire department’s training budget ($1,950) and from the town's corporate health and safety budget ($1,865).
Grey Highlands Fire Service also received a portion of the grant funding in the amount of $7,000 as per its census population.
The funds are expected to be used for a flashpoint simulator, command fire simulator, an iPad for fire prevention, and textbooks.
“The grant will allow staff to purchase valuable training tools that will enable firefighters to learn advanced suppression tactics, fire scene analysis and fire behaviour,” said Marty Wellwood, fire chief for Grey Highlands Fire Service.
Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca