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B.C. firefighters tackle flames in Langley, but its all in the name of training

Township’s firefighter training facility used for inaugural women’s symposium
Vehicle extrication training was one of the classes at the Fire Service Women BC symposium held in Langley. (Dave Harcus Photography/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Firefighters from around B.C. and a few from Alberta came to Langley to heat things up and break things open at the first Fire Service Women BC symposium.

On April 4 and 5, approximately 150 people gathered at the inaugural event for the non-profit created in 2022 to help women thrive in the fire services. The attendees includes women from the municipal departments, career and paid on-call members, as well as volunteer firefighters and those from the B.C. Wildfire Service. Nationally, women account for 11 per cent of firefighters.

Fire Service Women BC choose to hold its event in Langley because of the amenities.

“Langley has an excellent fire department training centre, and the hotel was super convenient. chief DeRoy and Langley firefighters IAFF Local 4550 have been incredibly supportive,” said Jenn Dawkins, president.

While here, the attendees did specialty training including liquid natural gas, electric vehicle emergencies, rescue drags, forcible entry, auto extrication, and more.

“Many of these hands-on training sessions will be offered by their home departments. However, we are offering some specialty training,” she explained.

They also headed inside for classroom sessions on topics such as female firefighter work-related injuries, cancer, fire behaviour, emergency medical specialty procedures, burnout, fire investigation, mental health, nutrition, leadership, and more.

“We’re fortunate to welcome experts who can enlighten us on women’s health within the fire service,” Dawkins said. “The realm of women’s health poses an ongoing challenge due to the limited presence of women in our profession. Numerous departments lack clear pregnancy policies and continue to issue ill-fitting men’s uniforms to female firefighters.”


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Langley was the site of the Fire Service Women BC inaugural symposium April 4 and 5. (Dave Harcus Photography/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Firefighters attending the Fire Service Women BC symposium took specialty training at the Langley Township Fire Department training grounds. (Dave Harcus Photography/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Heather Colpitts

About the Author: Heather Colpitts

Since starting in the news industry in 1992, my passion for sharing stories has taken me around Western Canada.
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