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'Losing those 2 members was devastating': Sask. firefighters learn how to prevent line-of-duty deaths

Over 25 firefighters made their way to Saskatoon for fire ground survival training to prepare them for the challenges they will face on the job.

Firefighters had to make their way through an obstacle course with loose wires, a broken ceiling and small holes they had to fit through, along with other challenges.

“It can be tight at times. There are tough spots,” said Warman Fire Rescue lieutenant firefighter Bryce McGillis

In addition to working their way through the training course, some fire crews were practicing answering calls in the command portion of the training.

“Hoaning in on the things that I’m supposed to do when we do get a mayday,” said Deputy Fire Chief for the Martensville Fire Department Dean Brooman. “Making sure the things work the way they are on the ground in order to get people out safely.”

The obstacle training and learning the command portion are part of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAAF) Ground Survival Training.

The four-day course teaches firefighters what to do in a life-and-death situation, led by an instructor who was in one.

In 2007, IAAF Master Instructor Lionel Crowther was in a two-line-of-duty death in Winnipeg where he was the last person out of a burning structure.

“Losing those two members was devastating not just to me but to my department and that is the motivation to this program of not losing any more of our members,” said Crowther.

The program studies line-of-duty deaths across North America and puts those situations into practice.

The last time the Saskatoon Fire Department (SFD) had a line-of duty-death was May 31st, 1980, nearly 43 years ago.

The department and union representing the SFD say this training will help keep their members going back home to their families after fighting fires.

“I think that the fact that we train for these circumstances also allows us to prevent these circumstances, and that's why it’s really important that we're able to share this skill set with other fire departments,” said Assistant Chief of Staff Development for the SFD Anthony Tetryan.

“We’re not just giving our people the physical tools but the mental tools as well,’ said vice president IAFF Local 80 Trevor Warren.

The course is called Train the Trainer program – with the point of it having firefighters who attend go back to their fire departments and teach other members. Top Stories

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