Ontario Fire College

Ontario Fire College

Fire research laboratory provides scientific equipment in a pleasant atmosphere for Ontario Fire College students.

During the 1971 academic year, the Ontario Fire College will conduct its 22-week fire protection technology course twice. The course, which is presented in three parts for Canadian fire officers and fire fighters, will first be conducted from February 1 to July 9 and then from July 12 to December 17.

Students live at the Ontario Fire College, which is owned and operated by the provincial government as a section of the Office of the Fire Marshal. It is the only residential fire college in Canada and is located in a vacationland setting on the outskirts of Gravenhurst. The 92-acre site on the shore of Lake Muskoka has living accommodations for 40 students and includes a fire technology building which houses lecture and seminar rooms, a fire command simulator, laboratory facilities and administrative offices. Also on the grounds are a training tower, a sprinkler building, a fire test building and an extensive operational training area. There is also a four-bay apparatus section in the fire technology building to house modern fire apparatus used in training.

There are no attendance fees, and municipal fire officers receive board, lodging, travel expenses and textbooks without cost to themselves. There are individual rooms for the students to ensure quiet facilities for study, and there are reading and common rooms for group study or evening social activities. There are many recreational facilities at the college, and students can swim, fish, go boating and sunbathe in their off-time. Classes are held from 9 a.m. Monday to 5 p.m. Friday, leaving the weekends free.

Specialists augment staff

Although most instructors are from the college staff and the Office of the Fire Marshal, specialists are brought in from government departments, universities and industry.

The three units of the fire protection technology course are fire prevention, fire fighting operations and fire department administration. The first two are divided into four parts and the administration unit is in three parts. An examination is held at the termination of each unit of the fire technology course. A 50 percent mark is required for a passing grade and a student must pass each unit of the course before he can enroll in the next. A diploma is awarded upon completion of the three units of the fire technology course.

Fire technology building, constructed in 1968, includes a four-bay garage and the research lab—Office of Ontario Fire Marshal photos.

Candidates for enrollment at the college must have at least five more years of service ahead of them so that their study will be of substantial benefit to their departments. The college urges municipalities to give preference to newly promoted officers and potential officers in recommending candidates for admission.

To encourage practical experience for the students, the college recommends that upon completion of each unit of the fire technology course, each student spend at least two months working with his newly acquired knowledge. Therefore, the college regards three years as the preferred length of time for completing all three units of the course.

Subjects covered

The fire prevention unit covers such subjects as principles of fire prevention and fire protection features of building design, preparation and interpretation of building plans, design of fire prevention and protection equipment, functions of testing laboratories, preparation of fire prevention laws, development of fire prevention programs, report writing, English and mathematics.

Fire fighting operations classes study the use of fire apparatus, operational responsibilities of fire officers, fireground hydraulics, leadership and command functions, radioactive health hazards, operational training of fire fighters and the related provincial laws.

The fire department administration unit is concerned with management and organization, oral and written communications, functions of government, fire department management problems, financial administration, leadership styles, records, decisionmaking and human relations.

Increasing demand cites

In discussing the working philosophy of the college, Ontario Fire Marshal Martin S. Hurst said, “The increasing growth of the Ontario economy, with the resulting industrial and residential expansion, demands improved skills in fire prevention, fire protection and the management of fire departments. The Ontario Fire College works to fill this demand and we are confident that the training provided will contribute substantially to the reduction in the loss of life and property from fire in Ontario.”

The increase in the number of registrants for the fire protection technology course from 26 in 1967 to 187 in 1970 is an indication of the favorable response to this advanced training. The graduate returns to his department with new skills, a broader knowledge and an expanded capacity for service to his community.

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