NIC wildfire students learn about water delivery, pump operation and parts of a wildfire fighting kit in Campbell River in 2019. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

NIC wildfire students learn about water delivery, pump operation and parts of a wildfire fighting kit in Campbell River in 2019. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

North Island College offering wildfire training in Port Alberni

Skills training program will prepare students to work on wildfire fighting crews in B.C. and Alberta

North Island College’s wildfire training program is returning to Campbell River and Port Alberni, starting in March 2021.

This free, four-week skills training will prepare students to work on wildfire fighting crews in B.C. and Alberta and is made possible thanks to funding provided by the Government of Canada through the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement.

The program runs from March 1-30 in both Campbell River and Port Alberni.

READ MORE: Port Alberni NIC students learn wildfire suppression

“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,” said NIC wildfire instructor Henry Grierson in a press release.

Course certifications also include radio training and WHMIS.

“This is one of the easiest ways to get the industry certifications and qualifications you need to start working this summer,” Grierson said.

Teamwork will also be a major focus, said Grierson.

“One of the most important aspects of wildfire fighting is being able to work as a team and take direction,” he explained. “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.

The work is hard, but rewarding, said Grierson.

“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,” said Grierson. “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.

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