Elkford training centre gets boost

Search and rescue teams in the Elk Valley will soon benefit from a new Emergency Services Training Centre in Elkford.

A new Emergency Services Training Centre will be built in Elkford. (Left to right) Bernie Van Tighem

Search and rescue teams in the Elk Valley will soon benefit from a new Emergency Services Training Centre in Elkford.

The $165,000 centre is part of a larger $545,000 project that will include a three-storey live fire training tower, with confined space and high angle rescue capacity.

The Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) recently contributed $40,000 towards the project.

“The Emergency Services Training Centre is building capacity in the search and rescue volunteers who provide an important service to residents and travellers,” said Carrie Schafer, CBT community liaison. “This is an identified priority for Elkford, and we are pleased to contribute to this valuable centre.”

The centre will be developed from portable sea containers to lessen the costs of initial development, and will have two areas that will allow for live fire training in a cost-effective manner.

“Training is critical to safe search and rescue, but it is currently extremely difficult to provide safe and effective live fire training as no local site exists,” said Bernie Van Tighem, Director, Elkford Fire Rescue and Emergency Services, who said that local volunteers are often shift workers who can’t travel to overnight training events. “We thank CBT for helping us realize this new facility, which will allow for focused and relevant training that will give team members increased skills and the community better recruitment and retention of volunteers.”

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