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‘It takes away a little of the mystery of what we do’: B.C. volunteer firefighters train in Oliver

Credit: Oliver Daily News

From high-angle dynamic rescues to extracting crash victims from vehicles, it’s made to look and feel as real as possible but the action at the Oliver Community Park on Saturday was just a drill.

Oliver played host to the B.C. Volunteer Firefighters Spring Training Seminar, which was sponsored by FortisBC.

More than 300 firefighters from 32 detachments across B.C. took part.

“A lot of firefighters from small departments don’t have the opportunity to do a lot of live fire training,” Oliver fire chief Bob Graham said.

A technical rescue team from Coquitlam showed off their skills.

READ MORE: Penticton wildfire training symposium, first of its kind in the Okanagan

“This is just a high line, if you had flooding and the bridge was washed out and you had to transport across that for emergency purposes, we set up a high line,” said Grant Frost of Dynamic Rescue Systems as a firefighter scaled a bridge crossing.

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“It becomes a transportation system that didn’t exist before.”

In one of the sessions, firefighters were blindfolded.

“This training session is an obstacle course, it’s head-to-head with two-man teams. It’s for rapid intervention team, those are the firefighters who are trained and equipped to rescue firefighters once they get trapped,” Oliver firefighter Spencer Tribbick said.

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Even the RCMP’s bomb disposal unit participated.

“The fire department also goes to calls we may be involved in as well so we want to be able to work together,” said member Ryan Ziebart.

Firefighters said the rigorous training was worth every ounce of sweat.

“Lots of hands-on practical training, real condensed weekend of updated information,” said Glenn Brubaker of Chilliwack.

“I just joined up myself so everything is pretty new and the opportunity to learn so much in one place was kind of appealing,” added Derick Crolla of the Charlie Lake Fire Department on Vancouver Island.

READ MORE: Oliver, B.C. firefighters raise funds to help rebuild Loon Lake fire hall

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The seminar was also open to the public, which made it an educational opportunity.

“I think it’s good because it kind of makes you realize they don’t just show up and start putting out a fire there is a lot of stuff involved,” said attendee Dan Gauthier.

Graham said firefighters do a lot more than fight fires.

“It takes away a little of the mystery of what we do.”

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