Espanola fire chief says new legislation creates challenges

By Rosalind Russell – Espanola Fire Chief Mike Pichor says new legislation will be a struggle for fire departments across Ontario especially when it comes to training for rural and smaller services.

Pichor says under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act of 1997 known as The Regulation, which came into effect last July, departments must comply with the updates by 2028 at the latest.

Pichor adds testing is also costly since firefighters would have to travel and the closest regional training centre is in Sault Ste. Marie.

He says they will likely run the odd course locally but adds they must first apply to the Ontario Fire Marshall’s Office, which does not have enough personnel for the supervised testing.

Pichor adds he agrees with his peers that with most firefighters being volunteers, it could discourage new members and be cost-prohibitive for smaller departments.

Photo: Mike Pichor, Fire Chief for Espanola Firefighters, says his department will face the same challenges as many other rural and small departments across Ontario which are finding it difficult to meet new training requirements for new and established members. Photo by Rosalind Russell

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