April 27, 2023, Coquitlam, B.C. – Coquitlam Fire/Rescue Services has integrated its new modern training centre, which replaces their previous 30-year-old facility, into their regime.
The facility officially opened in the fall of 2022. Located at Town Centre Firehall, the new centre provides expanded skills training and evaluation capacity, including live fire training. The facility also offers the city new revenue opportunities from rentals, as well as infrastructure to support more fire trucks.
In combination with existing training amenities, the new centre enables Coquitlam Fire/Rescue to train for many different building types and heights including live fires, stair climbing, breaches through walls and roofs, high-angle rescues, confined space/trench rescues and auto extrication. The new facility is also equipped the same water-foam fire suppression systems installed on all Coquitlam fire engines.
The centre is constructed of stacked shipping containers. The four-storey structure includes two burn rooms that use propane gas for a realistic fire effect, elevator door props, an alarm system, a working sprinkler system and standpipe, a theatrical smoke system ducted to all rooms, a sloping roof system with a prop for roof breach drills, anchors for rappelling and high-angle operations training, wall breach props to simulate advanced survival training for firefighters, computerized controls for the burn rooms, smoke, fire alarm and mock elevator systems, moveable walls to allow for changes to room and hall configurations, full exterior lighting for night training, and an exterior staircase similar to those used in firefighter competitions.
Active planning for the new centre began in 2019 with a feasibility study to assess the site layout and determine the best solution for replacing the outdated training facility. While the old facility was appropriate for the era and training required when it was constructed in the 1980s, after 30 years of use, it not only needed significant and costly repairs but could not meet the requirements of modern firefighter training, reports the city.
The project also included new electric vehicle charging infrastructure for battery-powered fire trucks. Funding for the $2.2-million project came from the city’s Casino Municipal Reserve and Carbon Offsets Reserve.
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