Nanaimo firefighters prepare air packs for operation before putting them into service on fire trucks at the Vancouver Island Emergency Response Academy earlier this year. (News Bulletin file photo)

Nanaimo firefighters prepare air packs for operation before putting them into service on fire trucks at the Vancouver Island Emergency Response Academy earlier this year. (News Bulletin file photo)

Nanaimo Fire Rescue’s emergency response academy growing

City to hire manager as training academy expected to bring in revenue

Nanaimo Fire Rescue’s emergency services training program has grown to the point that it needs to add a manager position.

Nanaimo city council, at a meeting Nov. 15, approved hiring a new manager for the Vancouver Island Emergency Response Academy, to be added to the budget starting in February.

Nanaimo Fire Chief Tim Doyle told councillors at a finance and audit committee meeting last week that his department’s training division is relatively small as it is.

“With [VIERA’s] growth, it just can’t stay being supported off the side of the desk – it will suffer and our own internal training will suffer,” he said.

The academy has a training facility next to Fire Station No. 2 on Dorman Road, but generally sends instructors around the province to other departments. Doyle said the academy works with more than 100 fire departments, and can offer training in a different way than the Justice Institute of B.C., for example.

“We certainly are a little bit more of a customized, boutique model that’s able to work with our customers on a closer level, getting back to them quicker, providing student records quicker, customizing our dates. For course offerings we’re a little bit more nimble,” Doyle said. “As a result, you’re seeing departments really want to work with us.”

City of Nanaimo staff anticipate the academy manager position will not only pay for itself, but bring in enough revenue in 2022 to reduce the city’s anticipated property tax increase by 0.09 per cent.

In related news, the city is set to discuss remediation of the fire training tower at a finance and audit committee meeting today, Nov. 17, as a staff report shows that costs of structural repairs have increased from $275,000 to $532,000.

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editor@nanaimobulletin.com

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