Fire department to use provincial funding for ‘blue card training’, iPads

GUELPH-ERAMOSA – The Guelph-Eramosa fire department is hoping to take advantage of new provincial COVID-19 funding.

On March 11, the Ontario government  announced a one-time $5-million funding allocation, through the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office, to municipal fire services to address challenges due to the pandemic.

Fire departments can apply to receive this funding at a pre-determined rate depending on the size of the municipality.

Guelph-Eramosa township can apply for a grant of $7,700 to facilitate training and inspection activities and at the township’s March 22 council meeting, Fire Chief Jim Petrik announced the department has done just that.

Petrik explained $5,700 will be allocated towards a “blue card” scenario-based training program for officers.

“This is invaluable training for our officers,” Petrik said. Blue card training was done by the department previously but has lapsed now, he added.

The department will use the remaining $2,000 of the funds to purchase iPads for multiple purposes pertaining to virtual training and work.

“I anticipate that some of our fire prevention education … will stay online and virtual to a certain extent, even once the COVID situation has passed,” said Petrik.

If the department’s application is successful, approval from council is needed to release funds, which was given.

Petrik said the application had to be submitted by March 19, and he doesn’t know if the west side of the township was included within the Rockwood response area or as part of the Guelph package.