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July arrival for fire training building in Rankin Inlet

Construction of the fire training building bound for Rankin Inklet has been completed.

The building, which Rankin Fire Chief Mark Wyatt said will revolutionize firefighter training in Nunavut, should be loaded onto flatbeds this week and transported to Montreal.

Mark Kappi, standing, gives Darren Makkigak a little help adjusting his gear during fire-investigation training in Rankin Inlet. A new fire training building bound for Rankin Inlet that’s expected to revolutionize firefighter training in Nunavut should be in the community by the end of July.
Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

It should arrive in Rankin on the season’s first barge and be assembled and ready to go by the end of July.

Wyatt said a preferred site didn’t pan out and a new location now has to be selected for the building.

He said he hopes to find a site, have the surveying done, get it properly zoned and have the pilings put in before the building arrives.

“We are in the midst of investigating a number of alternative sites and, hopefully, we’ll have a new location nailed down in the very near future,” said Wyatt.

“My ideal location now is in the industrial area of Itivia. The problem with that is it’s in the flight path, so we have to look at that, although we’re not going to be emitting huge exhaust plumes or anything like that but there will be some smoke going up in the air.

“Even though we’ve trained up at the dump for 25-odd years and burnt massive structures and everything, every time we do any sort of fire training we let Nav Canada know in advance so that they can let their pilots know to expect it.

“I don’t anticipate it being a huge stumbling block, but it could very well be.”

Wyatt said the three-storey building has three different burn rooms, with an apartment on the second floor and a confined-space room on the third floor.

He said they will be able to do sprinkler training, high-angle-rescue training, search and rescue, and many other forms of training within the new facility.

“We’ll have a room that you enter into that has a forcible-entry door on it so we can practice all of that, as well as movable walls on the inside so we can change the dynamics of a room that people are searching – pretty much everything you need to properly train a firefighter in Nunavut.

“This type of training really hasn’t existed here before, even through the Office of the Fire Marshal, so this is going to be a real game changer.

“I had to send my best-trained firefighters for interior firefighting down to Comox, B.C., to be trained because we didn’t have the facilities up here to properly do it.

“Now we’ll have the facilities to be able to train firefighters not just in Rankin, but from all over Nunavut, including the Agnico Eagle Fire Department, so it’s going to benefit a whole lot of people and it’s going to be great for the community.”

Wyatt said the training facility has been a goal of his since he first arrived in Rankin Inlet and looked at what firefighters were being forced to train in at the local dump.

He said he’s been working on this for about four years, almost as long as he’s been in Rankin, and he’s proud it’s finally coming to fruition.

He said he has a budget of about $600,000 to complete the project, which includes putting in some props.

“The building itself was about $260,000 and it’s going to cost us about $100,00 to ship it here, as well as the fencing, prop additions, etc.

“I built one of these down south, so I’m using the same supplier to construct this one and ship it up here. For what we’re getting, we’re doing really well in terms of budget.

“It will be a substantial revenue generator for the community when the hotels, restaurants, etc. open up, which, I hope, will be sooner rather than later.”

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