Metchosin fire chief Stephanie Dunlop uses a hydraulic cutter on a vehicle frame

Metchosin shares fire skill

West Shore firefighters among those off to help volunteer peers in Peru

Bags packed and tickets booked, three Metchosin firefighters are heading to Peru.

Fire Chief Stephanie Dunlop, Capt. Jason Humphries and firefighter Jamie Johnston are going to share some of their knowledge through Firefighters Without Borders Canada, April 2 to 18.

They are heading to Cuerpo General de Bomberos Voluntarios del Peru with a group of B.C. firefighters. The Peru volunteer department has about 10,000 firefighters in 196 fire halls.

Humphries and Dunlop will teach auto extrication and ventilation. The Metchosin Auto Extrication team has competed in various competitions at local and national levels.

“Auto extrication is something I am very familiar with and I enjoying showing people what I know,” Humphries said. “I am really looking forward to this and seeing how another country operates its volunteer departments.”

Even through he is going to teach others, Humphries said, “I want to learn from their resourcefulness and bring that back with me. In Peru they do more with less.”

Johnston will teach medical procedures along with rope work and knot tying.

Other than just offering information the Metchosin department and others across the province are donating old and expired equipment to the project.

“They don’t have the same equipment as us and they are about 10 years behind us,” said Dunlop. Since the equipment is expired it can’t be sold or used in Canada, but the Peru department is excited to accept it, she said.

Metchosin will donate a positive pressure.

“It’s a tactic you can use to control a fire. It’s an invisible forcefield you can push the fire back with to give you a couple extra minutes,” explained Dunlop.

Another difference between firefighters in Canada and Peru is most buildings here are wood framed while in Peru they are concrete.

“It changes how the fire burns,” Dunlop said. “It’ll just be a hot box and you’d have to use a different strategy.  I want to learn different strategies and tactics when I am there.”

Each firefighter is paying their own way to Peru.

 

“We’ve heard of other departments doing things like this, like Langford going to Haiti,” Dunlop said. “It’s great we get to share our passion and help others out.”