Firefighter certification schedule on track

by Gregg Chamberlain - EAP
Firefighter certification schedule on track
With the aid of the Regional Fire Training Centre in Bourget, Champlain Township Fire Chief Ghislain Pigeon is confident that he will have his entire complement of firefighters certified for expert training under the new provincial guidelines within a couple years. (Photo : archives)

Champlain Township’s fire chief is confident that all of his people will meet the provincial government’s new certification standards very soon.

Last year the provincial government approved new legislation dealing with certification standards for all fire departments in Ontario, both urban and rural. Champlain Township Fire Chief Ghislain Pigeon told township council during its June 22 session that he expects to have all of his firefighter achieve full certification soon under the new legislation’s guidelines.

“Our plan is to get everyone certified by 2026,” Chief Pigeon said. “I see (full) certification as the only way to go.”

The new legislation provides two types of certification standards for firefighters. One is the Legacy Certification program that replaces the old “grandfathering” system for certifying veteran and other firefighters for duty who may not have either already gained practical experience with all the types of emergencies that firefighters may need to handle. A Legacy Certification may limit a firefighter on the types of situations he or she is allowed deal with when a call comes in.

The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) Certification program is “the ideal” certification standard, Chief Pigeon noted in his report to council. NFPA Certification means a firefighter has received training, both theoretical and practical under controlled conditions, to deal with every kind of emergency situation that occurs.

Right now the Champlain Township Fire Department has a rotation schedule set up for small groups of its members to attend regional fire training centre in Bourget that the Clarence-Rockland Fire Department operates for its members and for members of other fire departments. A dozen members of Champlain Township’s department have gone through the regional training centre course, and also done their in-house theoretical training sessions, so that they are now NFPA-certified.

“I see NFPA certification as the only way to go,” Chief Pigeon said, adding that he is encouraging his staff to sign up for the regional training sessions as soon as openings are available because eh doesn’t want “legacy” certification for any of his firefighters.

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