Firefighters to sharpen skills Saturday

District firefighters will get a chance to hone their skills Saturday when the Rainy River District Mutual Aid Association hosts a pair a workshops here and in Alberton.
“Years ago, this was annual thing,” Fort Frances Fire Chief Steve Richardson, the training co-ordinator, said this morning. “Now, it’s something we’re going to start to do more often.”
Full-time and volunteer firefighters from Rainy River to Atikokan will converge here Saturday morning, first convening for in-class sessions where general fire safety issues will be discussed.
Then around 10 a.m., the firefighters will head outside and be active at two separate sites.
“We’ll have auto extrication exercises going on at North Auto. And then there’s search-and-rescue, ventilation, self-contained breathing apparatus exercises, and ladder practice going on at the old Alberton community hall,” Chief Richardson said.
While he noted the activities are not mandatory, they are strongly encouraged.
“It’s really a part of ongoing training to sharpen their skills,” Chief Richardson said, adding he’s expecting a large number of firefighters to come out Saturday.
The Mutual Aid Association is made up of all district fire departments which, if needed, will respond to other municipalities’ fire calls to reduce the response time and facilitate the reduction in damage.
In related news, the Fort Frances Fire Department likely will start prescribed burns on the outskirts of town, as well as possibly various areas in town, like near Flinders Place, next week.
While firefighters only have been called to one small grass fire so far this spring, Chief Richardson said the forecast is calling for more warm weather ahead, which could mean more blazes.