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OTTER POINT VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT
Otter Point Fire Training Centre
Operated by the
Otter Point Volunteer Fire Fighters Association
We acknowledge the financial assistance of the Province of British Columbia for it continued support of our efforts to provide training opportunities at a reasonable cost.
By the late 1990’s the Otter Point fire fighters had identified the need to have affordable Justice Institute accredited training available on lower Vancouver Island and the idea was born to build the Otter Point training centre. About two years went into the planning and research phase with the majority of this working being done by Jarvis Seabrook. Jarvis has become the project coordinator and has contributed countless volunteer hours to the project.
With the sale of a piece of property, initial funding was established and ground was broken early 2001. The area behind the fire hall was cleared and levelled in the summer of 2001. After leaving it for a winter to check the drainage system, construction started in spring of 2002.The majority of the labour has been done by our own multi-talented fire fighters.
The main structure of the training centre was formed by using six shipping containers. Doors, windows, and staircases were installed. The interior resembles a home with a kitchen and living area downstairs, and a bedroom and bathroom upstairs. There are also lower and upper burn rooms lined with padgenite panels added to one side of the main area. The layout lends itself to much versatility and the simulation of a variety of scenerios. The burn rooms have been fitted with sensors, controls, and a fan system with redundant safety systems built in. WCB has inspected the centre and is pleased with the safety systems in place.
We are currently burning wood pallets and are able to experience fires of 500° F at the five foot level and 700° F plus at the ceiling level. This provides for some exciting and realistic training experiences.
All the water used is collected in perimeter drains and recycled through a set of holding tanks from which the pumpers draft.
We have installed propane fuelled props consisting of a dumpster fire, a propane tank fire, a simulated fuel spill pit fire and a car fire in order to achieve the certification requirements from the Justice Institute to train and certify for Live Fire I and II. The burn rooms are also now fully operational. The building configuration allows for on grade fires, above grade fires and below grade fires.
There is also a area setup for auto extrication training and a portable class room has been setup and is ready for class room sessions complete with white boards, flip charts, digital projector and sound system. The facility is also used for public demonstration and fire safety-prevention education.
The project has been completed but we always looking for ways to improve the facility to enhance the training experience.
Our neighbours in Sooke have contributed to the project and have been using the training centre for many years for everything from recruit training, regular maintenance training, and live fire certification.
At least fourteen different Fire Departments from Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and even from the Sunshine Coast have used our training facility to upgrade their firefighters in live fire scenarios. Many Justice Institute certification courses in Live Fire I and Live Fire II have been completed at the Otter Point Training Centre. Pender Island and Saltspring Island with the support of other Lower Island Fire Departments have used the facility to put on a Youth Firefighter Training Camp.
We wish to acknowledge initial funding support provided by the Sooke Fire Department in helping to get this project off the ground.
Summer of 2002
Saw the installation of the heat protection panels in the live fire (burn) room, (pictures TrSite0407, 1 - TrSite0407, 5) and blasting to expand the site (TrSite0408, 1).
This period saw the completion of the live fire (burn) rooms, the addition of the sloping roof for roof ladder and ventilation training and the blasting continues to expand the site. The gas piping and the control panel are currently being installed. The ventilation roof has been designed to allow quick installation and change of a drop in roof section that can be cut open from either side.
This summer, further blasting was done to provide area for outside props, for such things as liquid spill fires, car fires and vehicle extrication. As well, a used portable class room was acquired and is now being refurbished for use as a training class room.
The remodelling of the portable class room was completed. The vehicle extrication props were added. As well this summer saw new signage added to the site and the propane lines and controls installed.
The control room and the exterior propane valve bank are finished. The exterior propane props; dumpster, propane fuel tank, pan and vehicle fire areas were completed. Most of the area has been paved and fenced.
This period saw hundreds of little details finished off in preparation for site inspection by the Justice Institute of British Columbia in order to become an approved "Live Fire" training facility. Our own department has been using the facility this year as well as we hosted a Fire Cadet Camp operated by Pender Island Fire Rescue.