The Nechako-Kitamaat Development Fund Society (NKDF) has recently given a local group $33,000 to help them build a local fire training facility, which will improve access to live, hands-on training for Burns Lake firefighters.
The Burns Lake Fire Training Society, which consists of members of the Burns Lake Fire Department, has been developing this training facility for the past three years.
The facility already has a fully functional auto extrication technique training site and an over embankment rescue training site that have been used to host multiple training nights for the Burns Lake Fire Department and a regional auto extrication training weekend.
The NKDF grant will allow the society to purchase and install the first components of a three-unit burn building, which will offer training in forcible entry, confined space, blackout search, self-rescue, live fire training, and basic training skills.
During a recent Burns Lake council meeting, the society asked council for an “in-kind assistance” from the municipality. The assistance would involve approximately two days of site preparation work, equipment and a small amount of crush from existing stocks.
Burns Lake fire chief Rob Krause told council he wasn’t sure what would be the total cost associated with this in-kind assistance, which would include staff wages, fuel and approximately 10 loads of crush.
“It should be noted that although this project is being completed by a society, it will save the municipality thousands of dollars in training costs over the next 25 years,” explained Krause. “This project will directly benefit the taxpayers of Burns Lake by reducing training costs and providing a better trained department.”
Burns Lake council agreed that the municipality should provide in-kind assistance to the society.
“We’re probably talking about less than $5000,” said councillor Michael Riis-Christianson. “I think it’s a small price to pay to see a facility that can be such a tremendous asset to this community.”
In 2014, the Burns Lake Fire Training Society entered into a 25-year lease with the Burns Lake Community Forest for this training ground, located up Lake Babine Road.
The society is currently seeking $44,000 in additional grants to complete the second phase of the burn building. The society also plans to raise money for improved road access, fencing, a self-contained breathing apparatus confidence training building, and a propane and LNG training site.