Firefighters train for confined spaces

Oak Bay and Saanich fire departments conduct joint training session at the University of Victoria

Capt. Rob Heppell of Saanich Fire Department and Lieutenant Jon Popham of Oak Bay FD were part of joint exercises at the University of Victoria where they used a tripod to hoist 180-pound Rescue Randy through a man-hole cover.

Oak Bay and Saanich fire departments took advantage of a slow summer session at the University of Victoria to conduct a joint training session on the near-empty campus. The two departments share responsibility for fire and rescue coverage at the university.

“The training is designed to assist fire crews to enhance their technical skills in confined space rescue,” said Oak Bay Fire Chief Dave Cockle. “The sessions also allow for the two departments to familiarize themselves with the confined spaces at UVic, which the  departments are responsible for.”

They were working within narrow manholes near the Cunningham building, pulling dummies and firefighters from tight spaces.

“We provide that service for our municipalities as well,” said Tom Pearse, deputy chief. “It’s one of the many skills that firefighters have to have and maintain.”