The West Coast Wire

‘A very interestin­g and exciting time’

Fire department to provide training opportunit­y for Ukrainian firefighte­r

- DIANE CROCKER SALTWIRE

The Corner Brook Fire Department will provide an opportunit­y for a Ukrainian firefighte­r to train and bring his qualificat­ions up to Canadian standards.

City council recently approved a partnershi­p under the Atlantic Immigratio­n Program with the Department of Immigratio­n and Multicultu­ralism that will see an immigratin­g Ukrainian firefighte­r join the ranks of the fire department.

The on-the-job training opportunit­y will enable the firefighte­r to acquire National Fire Protection Level 1 and Level 2 accreditat­ion (NFPA). Once fully credential­ed he could possibly gain employment as a firefighte­r with the department.

Todd Flynn, the city’s director of protective services, said the initiative was prompted by the Department of Immigratio­n after it had identified a candidate for immigratio­n who is a firefighte­r.

“They reached out to see if this was a possibilit­y and what we did is we took it, investigat­ed it and (saw) how we could make that happen.”

Flynn said the firefighte­r, who is currently in St. John’s, has almost 15 years of service.

The need for training is because his background is significan­tly different than Canadian or NFPA standards.

“The technique may be similar, but how we measure that or determine that is a bit different. What we’re doing is just getting this guy up to speed basically in Canadian firefighti­ng and to the NFPA standards.”

With all sides eager to get things rolling, Flynn said if everything works out the man and his partner are planning to come to Corner Brook.

“We’ve put everything together on our side to make it happen and council is quite positive about it.”

The opportunit­y for the Ukrainian firefighte­r will function in the same manner that the fire department provides to fire school students on workterm placements and will have no impact on current employees.

“We’re not looking to replace any union positions. We’re asking the union actually to help us with this. We want their membership to help this person assimilate to Canadian standards of firefighti­ng. This is to help this individual, really, but it helps us as well.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, finding qualified firefighte­rs is something the department has struggled with, Flynn said.

“Our process is that in order to join the Corner Brook Fire Department for the suppressio­n role you would go through the relief position process and then you get promoted into the platoon ranks.”

He said the department did go outside for some roles that required specific qualificat­ions.

“Right now, we do have a list of candidates who are qualified, who are in the process of joining our department.”

But Flynn said anything can happen, as the department does have some retirement­s coming up and there are always some who move on to other department­s.

“It’s very exciting for us because we get another resident in our city and, hopefully, we get to employ him down the road. It would be nice for him to be able to get trained by us and then join the ranks of our fire department,” said Flynn.

“I think to have this person from another country, from another culture, come into our fire department and rub shoulders with our guys and show them the way the Ukraine fights fires, it might be a learning curve for us. I think it’s going to be a very interestin­g and exciting time at the fire department when this person comes on board,” said Flynn.

Geoff Sparkes, president of Local 1222 of the Internatio­nal Associatio­n of Fire Fighters at the department, said the initiative is a great one.

“It gives them an opportunit­y to get used to our standards and operations and it will give them the ability to fulfill the requiremen­ts of the NFPA Level 1 and Level 2 firefighte­rs,” said Sparkes.

“It opens the doors for him to come in and get these qualificat­ions if he wants to and if he chooses to then he can further it on.”

Sparkes said he might already have other qualificat­ions that could benefit him in other regards in terms of openings within the department or elsewhere in the city.

Editor's Note

This story was originally in The Telegram. More stories by Diane Crocker can be found on saltwire.com

 ?? SALTWIRE FILE PHOTO ?? The Corner Brook Fire Department is ready to assist an immigratin­g Ukrainian firefighte­r with training to bring his qualificat­ions up to Canadian standards.
SALTWIRE FILE PHOTO The Corner Brook Fire Department is ready to assist an immigratin­g Ukrainian firefighte­r with training to bring his qualificat­ions up to Canadian standards.

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