Kingston serves as ‘MAYDAY prevention program’ training grounds

Firefighter training taking place at Centre 70 Arena on the week starting Monday, Jun. 10, 2024. Photo via the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association.

Those in the area of Days and Front Road may have seen an increased presence of firefighting vehicles and personnel this week. The emergency responders are in town to attend training, which concludes today, Thursday, Jun. 13, 2024.

In a media release issued on the afternoon of Wednesday, Jun. 12, 2024, the City of Kingston noted that the Ontario Professional Firefighters Association (OPFFA) is offering the Fire Ground Survival Train the Trainer (FGS TTT) course at Centre 70 Arena.

With over 70 applicants vying for a spot, 31 firefighters from across Ontario, including seven from Kingston Fire & Rescue attended the training course, which took place from June 10 to 13, 2024. According to the OPFFA, firefighters taking the course were “tested to determine whether they have gleaned the knowledge and skills to provide life-saving Mayday training to their peers across the province.” The June 10 to 13 course is one of three the OPFFA intends to carry out this summer, with the goal of certifying more than 100 instructors.

“FGS is the most comprehensive survival skills and MAYDAY prevention program currently available within the fire service and aims to educate all firefighters to be prepared if the unfortunate happens,” the City of Kingston stated.

The OPFFA expanded on the development of the program, noting that “the FGS training program applies the lessons learned from firefighter fatality investigations conducted by the USA’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and has been developed by a committee of subject matter experts from the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), and NIOSH; incorporating federal regulations, proven incident management best practices, survival techniques from leaders in the field, and real case studies from experienced firefighters.”

“While firefighters don’t plan to be lost, disoriented, injured or trapped during a structure fire or emergency incident, fires are unpredictable, volatile and ruthless – and they will not go according to plan. What a firefighter knows about a fire before entering a blazing building may radically change within minutes once inside the structure,” the provincial organization continued.

“Smoke, low visibility, lack of oxygen, structural instability, and an unpredictable fire ground can cause even the most seasoned firefighter to be overwhelmed in an instant. It’s not a matter of IF the Mayday happens, it’s WHEN.”

The FGS TTT course covers classroom instruction and practical exercises, including navigating a confidence course simulating real-life scenarios, and aims to equip firefighters with the knowledge and skills to navigate unforeseen circumstances and increase their chances of survival, the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association concluded.

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