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Cops in firefighter suits? Yep, it's true (5 photos)

Thursday, March 27, 2014   by: Kenneth Armstrong

There are some things you just don’t see every day.

Like a police officer wearing a firefighter's suit.

Const. Brad Baber was one of two Sault Ste. Marie Police Service officers who joined Haz-Mat and Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) training at the request of Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services.

“It’s great for us to have the opportunity to come here today, to take what we’ve learned the last three days and bring some of it back to our department," Baber said. “Oftentimes we’ll get the same calls the firefighters get and we may get there first, so a lot of what we learned could be very applicable to our job.”

For firefighter and Ontario Provincial Fire Fighters Association (OPFFA) Local 529 president Rob Greve, asking the police service to participate in hazardous materials training just made sense.

“Any time we have inter-agency involvement like this, it just strengthens our teamwork and get us on the same page,” said Greve.

Over three days, the participants spent a total of 24 hours of in class, reviewing procedures and responding verbally to theoretical scenarios presented by the visiting International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) trainers.

In addition to the time spent in class, a practical mock-scenario was set up in the station that simulated a victim who needed to be rescued from the scene of an industrial accident involving a chemical spill.

The 23 firefighters, as well as the two participating police officers, suited up in full gear to respond to that scenario.

“This has been a good opportunity to put on their uniform and put on their equipment, to feel the weight of it and how it affects your mobility,” said Baber.  “It gives you an appreciation for what everyone does.”

The IAFF has been travelling across Ontario providing this specific training for over six years at the request of the local fire departments, with partial funding from the federal government.

Some departments have put the information to use immediately.

IAFF trainer Bruce Donig noted that while conducting similar training in Kapuskasing there was a rupture of the TransCanada natural gas pipeline.

“Many of the places we’ve been doing the training experience an incident within a year of us being there,” said Donig.

Although the Sault Ste. Marie Fire Service was already well-trained in responding to incidents relating to hazardous materials, Donig said that you cannot be too prepared for a major incident, such as the Lac-Mégantic derailment in Quebec last summer.
“Sault Ste. Marie is actually quite remote, it’s a fairly substantial city but very isolated,” said Donig. “Should they have the need for more expertise for a Lac-Mégantic-type spill the 88 firefighters in town will be drawn upon quickly.”

An important part of the training focuses on evaluating what resources are available in the case of a major incident involving hazardous materials.

Although agreements exist for local fire services to request assistance from Toronto, those resources could take 24 hours or longer to reach Sault Ste. Marie.

This training pointed out that many local industrial sites may be a good source for chemical foams and other resources that may run out during an incident and that it is important to know what is available before it is needed.

“We encourage them to now go out and engage the industries in town and find out what they have on-hand,” said Donig.

While travelling, Donig has noticed one pattern in every community where they do the training scenarios.

“It’s funny, but the police officers always want to be on the hoses.”

(PHOTO: Firefighters Rob Shaughnessy and Neil Brockelbank react as Sault Ste Marie Police constable Brad Baber is suited up in full protective firefighter gear during a training exercise March 26, 2014. Armstrong)

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Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
iamtc 3/27/2014 1:18:14 PM Report

The guy with glasses looked like he was asleep hope he doesn't come to rescue me if there is a spill in my workplace
irishfey 3/27/2014 1:22:44 PM Report

A big " thank you" to the the Police and the Firefighters, and to those who like to degrade the Police in their comments... Walk a mile in their shoes!!
iamtc 3/27/2014 1:25:32 PM Report

A big THANK YOU to sootoday for keeping me entertained without sootoday I would be board
CB4 3/27/2014 1:32:59 PM Report

Gotta keep former hockey players employed
braylor 3/27/2014 2:33:41 PM Report

One day you may be thanking those hockey players who became police officers and or firefighters for saving your life!
asp 3/27/2014 3:55:40 PM Report

Your so right braylor!!! So what if they were former hockey player!! But these former hockey player went back to school and got another jo and they are providing for thier family. At least they are not sitting around the house doing nothing, like some people in the Soo!!!!
SimsDrum 3/27/2014 4:53:53 PM Report

They didnt go back to school. Half of them only got their job because they play hockey. Lets be honest here. I went through the bullshit interview process years ago. Last question in the interview was do you play hockey and I said no. you could almost hear a pin drop. It was like i said Santa was not real! You know who you are douchebags!
SimsDrum 3/27/2014 4:56:05 PM Report

Hey iamtc. If you are really so bored why don't you take a course in how to spell words! you numbnuts!!!!
iamtc 3/27/2014 7:19:09 PM Report

Hey Sims your a clown do u think I really care next time I comment I will get you to check my spelling and u can help me
Sam C 3/27/2014 8:24:12 PM Report

iamtc... without SooToday you'd be a piece of lumber? Hmm.

To me, the guy in the glasses looks as though he's following along in the book on the table in front of him. And I'll bet if you needed him to rescue you, you'd be glad of his professionalism.
Shortcut 3/27/2014 8:30:21 PM Report

That cop is too small to be a firefighter anyway. He wouldn't have the strength to lift or carry a large person away from danger.
HONEST1 3/27/2014 10:36:06 PM Report

What a joke. This how are tax dollars are spent. Let the cops catch criminals and let the fire department deal with fires and hazardous material. This is just as bad as teachers taking kid to the zoo instead of teaching. It's a crime how our tax dollars are being abused!!!
crashed13 3/28/2014 12:23:33 PM Report

The fire fighters get a few emergencies a year while the police get a dozen a night.
Who has the better job?
That's why the states have such a large voluntary fire service.
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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