North Island College’s Wildfire Training program is returning to Campbell River in March, and thanks to funcing from the federal government, it’s free.
The four-week skills training, according to a NIC release, will prepare students to work on wildfire fighting crews in BC and Alberta and is made possible thanks to funding provided by the Government of Canada through the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement.
“From important safety training to the technical aspects of how fires are suppressed, we cover how to use hand tools and power pumps, along with information about air support from helicopters and air tankers,” says NIC wildfire instructor Henry Grierson.
Course certifications also include radio training and WHMIS.
“This is one of the easiest ways to get industry certifications and qualifications you need to start working this summer,” Grierson says.
But another major focus will be teamwork, as it is a critical skill in battling wildfires.
“One of the most important aspects of wildfire fighting is being able to work as a team and take direction,” Grierson says. “Wildfire fighting is very goal oriented – you’re all working to get the fire out. You need to be comfortable working as a part of a team, and following direction.”
Grierson notes that fire seasons can be unpredictable, which is why it’s important to have crews trained and ready to go, adding that while the work is difficult, it’s also extremely rewarding.
“It’s a good job for people who enjoy the adrenaline rush, for those who like to travel and who enjoy working as part of a team,” Grierson says. “It’s the kind of work that if you like it, you’ll love it.”
Applications for the March training are open now.
Visit www.nic.bc.ca/wildfire for details and to apply for the program.