Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) has filed three safety charges against the village of Point Edward, Ontario, and four charges each against two supervisors after the death of a volunteer firefighter during a training exercise in January, 2010. Gary Kendall, a 51-year-old veteran volunteer firefighter with Point Edward Fire & Rescue, died on the morning of January 30, 2010, when he became trapped under a large ice floe during an ice-water rescue training exercise.
Charges were laid on July 27, 2010, confirms MOL spokesman Matt Blajer. He reports that the village has been issued three charges under the OHSA, as an employer, :failing to ensure that adequate pre-training has been completed, failing to ensure there were an adequate number of rescuers on shore and that adequate rescue equipment had been provided and was available, and failing to appoint a safety officer for the training exercise. In addition, the supervisors have each been charged with failing to have an adequate training plan and an adequate pre-training briefing.
A number of precautions need to be taken when conducting ice-water rescue training, notes Tim Beckett, fire chief for the City of Kitchener and president of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs. (OAFC) Fully encapsulated immersion suits are necessities in any water situation. “It protects firefighters from cold water, but it also protects them from bacteria that might be in the water,” he notes.
For any firefighter training process, a gradual approach should be taken. You want to make sure that your staff are well-trained in the theory component of the subject matter, and then you want to ensure that you do a step-by-step skill set, Beckett suggests, explaining that after training the firefighter in various elements of the process, the simulation training can be introduced.
The defendants are scheduled to make a first court appearance on September 10, 2010.
Remember “ In Ontario, ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Play’ and ‘Work’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.