The 13-day program starts March 12 at NIC’s Campbell River campus.
“This is one of the easiest ways to get industry certifications and qualifications you need to start working this summer,” said NIC wildfire instructor Henry Grierson.
“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.”
Certifications from the course include radio training, occupational first aid, transportation endorsement and hazardous materials.
Teamwork will also be a major focus, said Grierson.
“One of the most important aspects to wildfire fighting is being able to work as a team and take direction,” he said. “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 also with taking orders.”
Grierson noted the wildfire situation in BC last summer – the worst wildfire season on record – demonstrates how important it is to have people with this kind of training who can be called upon if needed.
“The BC Wildfire Service has a set number of crews and firefighters every season,” said Grierson. “If we have a very active fire season those crews are tapped out quickly. That’s when additional qualified crew are needed.”
The work is hard, but rewarding, said Grierson.
“It’s physically-demanding work in terms of endurance rather than strength,” he said. “You need to be able to work outdoors, sometimes in inclement weather, for 10-12 hours straight and be engaged for that entire time. It’s a good job for people who enjoy the adrenaline rush, for those who like to travel and be part of a team. It’s the kind of work that if you like it, you’ll love it – it gets into your blood.”
NIC is currently offering the same training in Port Alberni, which is already underway and set to wrap up on March 1.
Those interested in the training can find more information by contacting Sandy Rose at 250-923-9728 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.