TORONTO - The state fire marshal recently visited the Gem City personally to present a grant check to city volunteer firefighters.
The check, for $3,629, was to reimburse volunteers for attending a training seminar to improve their volunteer ranking, according to city fire Chief Frank McEwen.
"Larry Flowers, the state fire marshal, was here May 19 to present the (volunteer fire department) with a check," said McEwen. "This was a reimbursement for training.
AWARDED?GRANT – Toronto volunteer firefighters accepted a grant check from the state fire Marshal Larry Flowers for additional training during Flowers’ visit May 19 to the Gem City. Those on hand to greet the marshal included, from left, volunteer Matt Gooch; city firefighter Bill Scheel; city fire Chief Frank McEwen; Flowers; volunteers President Lance Winstel; and city firefighter Ryan Boyd.
"We have some guys that are under state certification that lists them just as volunteers," he continued.
McEwen said volunteers must take at least a 36-hour basic training course, while "A firefighter I class includes 120 hours of classroom and hands-on training. That's half of what the state requires for a (paid) full-time firefighter."
McEwen said volunteer firefighters Mike Adams and Ron Holmes Jr. attended the training seminar September through November at the Tiltonsville Volunteer Fire Department. The seminar was conducted on weekends through the three months, added McEwen.
"We have three volunteers that have gone through the 240-hour certification and another three that have the 120-hour certification," said the chief, adding another volunteer is scheduled to take the firefighter class I training. "The state and federal governments are pushing the certification because it's more extensive training."
McEwen said training for the firefighter I class includes working with a live burn demonstration.
"They have to physically extinguish the live fire in a fire trailer," McEwen said. "(The training) is basically more extensive in general."
The state informed volunteers more training was required for safety reasons, the chief said.
"The volunteers paid for the training up front, and (the grant funds) are a reimbursement."
McEwen said it's rare for the state fire marshal to personally visit smaller cities such as Toronto.
"In my 30-plus years this is the first time the state fire marshal himself has come here," said the chief. "We're honored that he came - even on a weekend."
(Miller can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)