Sackville’s 43 firefighters will likely have a new state-of-the-art training facility by the end of the year.
At its next meeting on Monday, Sackville Town Council is expected to approve a $16,560 expenditure to buy four, 40-foot shipping containers that would play an important part in fire department training.
Council gave its overall approval in February to construction of the $30,000 facility behind the public works building on Crescent Street with the understanding that purchases over $6,000 would still need additional approval.
The four shipping or sea containers are to be paid for out of funds raised during the 2018 Fire Department Truck Draw held by the Sackville Volunteer Firefighters Association.
Fire Chief Craig Bowser says that if council approves purchasing the containers from Riverside Warehousing Ltd. in Moncton, fire training in Sackville would be improved significantly.
“The sea containers will allow us to train out there potentially every week if we so choose to do that,” he says.
Deputy Fire Chief Shawn Phinney explains that the containers will be used to mimic actual fire conditions.
“We’ll be building walls inside the containers and making rooms to simulate going into a house with the vertical one having stairs in it to simulate a two-storey house or going into the basement,” he says.
“You can make different scenarios of kitchens and living rooms with being able to move some walls around,” Phinney adds.
“We have an artificial smoke machine that we’ll be able to put in there to fill it with smoke, so I think it’s going to be a huge benefit for our members.”
The deputy chief says the Sackville Public Works Department has already put down shale and gravel for the training facility in a level 70-by-100 foot area behind its building.
After the containers are installed, two concrete pads will be added where firefighters can practise rescuing people from wrecked cars or improving their techniques for ventilating the roofs of burning buildings.
“We’ll build a small roof structure on one of the pads,” Phinney says, “to simulate cutting holes in the roofs…If you’ve got a home on fire you have to have a way to have the gases and the smoke escape to make it easier inside for members to fight the fire.”
Chief Bowser says fire departments in surrounding areas such as Dorchester, Memramcook, Port Elgin and Amherst will be invited to use Sackville’s new training facility.
He points out that all of these departments have mutual-aid agreements which are a big help since Sackville’s Fire Department is responsible for a 100-square-kilometre area.
“All those outlying fire departments are great assets to us especially when we’re fighting large fires,” he says.