In recognition of the diverse nature of services that the Halton Hills Fire Department provides to the community, a comprehensive training regime has been developed to equip and train staff with the skills they will need to meet the challenges that they will face on a daily basis as firefighters. The core components of the training program have been specifically designed for the specific needs of our community, with a view to developing firefighters who possess a very high degree of competency across a broad spectrum of services that include fire suppression, vehicle extrication, and specialized rescue services.
The Training Division of the Halton Hills Fire Department manages all aspects of a firefighters training as he or she develops over their individual career, including the foundational Recruit Training Program. A comprehensive training manual has been developed as a reference tool that is tied closely to IFSTA (International Fire Service Training Association) and OFM (Office of the Fire Marshal) curriculum and standards.
Recruit firefighters are expected to attend all aspects of the Training Program before graduating to completely independent duties within the organization. The program, which typically takes twelve to fourteen months to complete, is delivered by seasoned firefighters in two to three hour sessions, one evening per week. Additional weekend training sessions are held for selected components that require more intensive instruction. Recruit firefighters are also encouraged to participate in "regular" fire department training sessions that are held on other evenings throughout the week. Recruit firefighters are gradually integrated into normal fire department operational activities (emergency responses) as they develop the necessary skill sets to perform in these environments. As an example, once the recruit firefighters complete the necessary components of their "Emergency Patient Care" training, they are permitted to attend "Medical Assist" type calls. Likewise, as they complete all of the "Vehicle Extrication" components of their training, they are permitted to attend motor vehicle accidents as part of a more experienced crew. Care is taken to ensure that response crews are properly balanced in terms of their "experience" levels during this process.
The core components of training our firefighters include the following subject material:
- Orientation (including objectives, Fire Department history, the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, Ontario Fire Service Standards, basic duties and response to the station)
- Apparatus and Equipment
- Radio Systems and Communications
- Health and Safety (including WHMIS, OHSA, JEAP and Critical Incident Stress)
- Emergency Patient Care
- Emergency Driving
- Chemistry of Fire
- Fire Suppression Agents
- Water Supply
- Hose Lines, Fire Streams and Related Appliances
- Ground Cover Fires
- Structural Fire Operations
- Ground Ladder Operations
- Forcible Entry
- Self Contained Breathing Apparatus
- Structural Search and Rescue
- Ropes and Knots
- Salvage Operations
- Overhaul Operations
- Fire Scene Investigation (including evidence preservation)
- Fire Protection Systems
- Building Construction
- Vehicle Extrication
- Special Rescue Operations (including water/ice, and confined space rescue)
The knowledge, skills and abilities garnered by our Firefighters enables them to perform as part of a proficient team of dedicated professionals that serve our community on a daily basis. The training emphasises teamwork and adherence to established practices while at the same time providing them with the confidence to be innovative problem solvers. Above all, safety is promoted in all activities as a means to assure a full and productive career in the Ontario fire service.