A firefighter ignites combustibles in a house on Station Rd. as part of Tuesday’s fire practice for crews from Trail and Montrose.

Practice makes perfect

Planned burns help firefighters hone skills that save lives and property



Setting fires isn’t usually in the job description for a firefighter, but Tuesday, members of the Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue (KBRFR) did just that.

To practice different techniques, skills and scenarios, firefighters from Trail and Montrose burned down a house on Station Road after weeks of exercises under artificial conditions.

“The house on Station Road had been used for the last three weeks by our paid on-call members for training,” said Terry Martin, KBRFR chief. “For those training scenarios we used artificial smoke to ensure a safe environment for our members. We like to use the structures for training purposes (before burning them down).”

After practicing with a smoke machine, the real fires were set.

Using pallets, bales of hay, lighter fluid and a blow torch, members lit smaller fires in different parts of the two-bedroom, two-story house early on Tuesday morning, extinguishing each fire as efficiently and safely as possible.

Throughout the training sessions, crews completed several different set-ups, such as breaking through walls to get into the next room, or extinguishing a single-room fire from outside the building.

“It is extremely important for all of our members to be properly trained and prepared to respond to each incident,” Martin said of the varying factors in each scenario. “Each incident is different, but prior training promotes confidence and an awareness of the dangers at a fire scene.”

Along with the usual equipment like hoses, helmets and water tankers, the scenarios practiced at the house on Station Road included the use of a heavy-duty fan, blowing directly in the front door of the burning building.

“We use the fan to create a movement of air through the burning structure,” said Martin. “It clears out a lot of smoke and heat which assists the firefighters in making a safer environment, enabling them to track down and extinguish the fire.”

After extinguishing some fires, members reported that the fan reduced the temperature inside a burning room by a few hundred degrees.

Martin says getting the opportunity for practice situations in a house isn’t common for the department, waiting for residents in the community to approach the KBRFR with a structure for members to use.

“Unfortunately, we don’t get many situations where we can train like this,” he said, adding that there is some leg work to do before the burning begins. “We are usually approached by the homeowners who ask if we would be interested in burning the structures down. When a structure is offered, we try to work with the owner to ensure the burning of the building will work for everyone involved.

“For example, we encouraged the homeowner on Station Road to speak with her neighbours to make sure it was also okay for them if we used the structure for training.”

The next building to go up in flames with the help of the KBRFR is 1995 Riverside Avenue. The building is being burned down on April 12. The department will be practicing training scenarios starting at 9 a.m.

Just Posted

Trail vet says voting system has worked for 150 years

Letter to the Editor from Vaughn Budd of Trail

Kootenay employers ready to meet job seekers at Black Press career fair

Dozens of companies will attend the event on Nov. 15 at the Ktunaxa Nation Building in Cranbrook

Sandblasting Silver City skate sign

The Trail Sk8 Park was closed on Thursday so workers could ready a sign for painting

Area A seeks views on cannabis rules

The public hearing for Area A residents will go Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 5 p.m.

Trail liquor store held up Friday night

The perpetrator was brandishing a weapon that appeared to be a gun, according to the Trail RCMP

VIDEO: Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

Disabled boy has ‘forgiven’ bullies who walked on him in stream, mom says

A Cape Breton teen who has cerebral palsy was told to lie in a stream as other kids walked over him

Letters shed light on state of mind of B.C. mom accused of daughter’s murder

Trial of South Surrey mother Lisa Batstone begins in BC Supreme Court

Vancouver man must pay $22,000 after breaking strata rules

Peter Gordon took his fight over his rented condo to the civil resolution tribunal, but lost

B.C. cheese linked to 5 E. coli cases

People are asked to throw out or return ‘Qualicum Spice’ cheese

Canada Post no longer guarantees delivery times amid more rotating strikes

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers closed two major processing centres in Ontario and B.C.

B.C. city councillor resigns as AutismBC director amid SOGI controversy

AutismBC president Gary Robins says Laurie Guerra’s resignation is effective Nov. 12

McGill students vote overwhelmingly to change Redmen team nickname

Student union held a referendum after a campaign by Indigenous students

B.C. university pride group replaces white supremacy posters

Around 50 people walked through downtown Victoria to share posters of love

Most Read