Learning to put out fires
Kivalliq firefighters complete intensive workshops

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Mar 20/00) - Prevention is still the key to combating fires in the Kivalliq Region.

That was the message in a series of fire prevention workshops conducted in Rankin Inlet earlier this month by Kivalliq regional fire marshal Tim Hinds.

The program involved two firefighters from each of the seven Kivalliq hamlets.

Topics discussed during the five-day course included fire department management, fire prevention inspections, flammable liquids and portable fire extinguishers, emergency measures organization, fire reporting, critical incident stress debriefings (CISD), family fire safety and self-contained breathing apparatus.

The course was aimed at exposing senior firefighters to prevention activities they can initiate in their own hamlets.

Hinds says the workshops were well received by attending members.

"There were a lot of good ideas and questions which came from the firefighters themselves," says Hinds.

The firefighters took advantage of the interaction of the course to discuss a number of situations which occurred in their own hamlets.

The incidents were then discussed to see if solutions could be used by hamlets with similar problems.

"We also looked at what might prevent these problems from happening in another hamlet."

Repulse Bay fire Chief Levi Katorak says the workshops were in-depth, helpful and informative.

"We learned many things we can take back to our own hamlets," says Katorak.

"I was surprised by how much I had to learn about stress debriefings (CISD)."

The workshops featured guest lectures on portable fire extinguishers (Ron Smith of Keewatin Property Maintenance), CISD (Dean Harvey of Social Services) and electrical fire safety (Dan Taylor of NTPC).

Hinds says he would like to see the workshops be an annual event.

"With the help of Arctic College and the airlines, we came away with a good budget, which shows something like this can be done at a decent price."