As the clock winds down on another issue of The Echo, the Invermere Fire and Rescue Service is wrapping up a call in Wilmer, where a building next to the Delphine Lodge has burned stubbornly for much of the afternoon thanks to a fire that made its way into the structure’s roof.
It’s worth once again commending our mostly-volunteer service for the work they do.
It’s also a reminder that a decision made by Invermere council at its last meeting to allow the firefighters in our communities to do more training was a good one.
As the fire chief points out in our page nine story, fighting a live fire is difficult to replicate, no matter how many training simulators one uses.
A live burn exercise — with real buildings and real flames — brings together the lessons in a very concrete way. With a large number of newer members on the squad at the moment, it’s a good time for such an exercise.
Volunteering for the fire service is a fairly impressive time commitment, with weekly practices as well as the possibility of needing to drop everything and head to the fire hall as fast as possible on any given day at any given time.
Equipping our squads across the valley is a worthwhile pursuit. It’s not enough to be able to show up to the fire hall in 10 minutes to hop in a truck. Being able to be effective on-scene for all manner of calls, from rescues on slippery roads to incidents like Monday’s fire, is crucial.
Based on discussion in council chambers last week, the exercise as planned also appears to avoid issues that have made local governments wary of live burns in the past: It’s planned for a relatively secluded location and any toxic-burning materials will be stripped out ahead of time.
As councillor Greg Anderson pointed out during council’s discussion on the issue, “Why wouldn’t we (agree to it)? It makes sense.”