After outgrowing the one-classroom facility years ago, the Surrey Fire Service finally has a brand new state-of-the-art training facility in Newton.
The building, located at 149th Street and 64th Avenue, officially opened in April. It is on the same property of the department’s central training facility, directly adjacent to fire hall nine and the department’s mechanic shop, according to a city report from 2017.
It includes multiple classrooms, offices, change rooms, locker rooms and a “dirty classroom,” which is an area for firefighters to go in with their turnout gear, said assistant fire chief Ben Dirksen.
The new facility, Dirksen said, has been “probably six or seven years” in the making.
“It replaced a one-classroom facility which we had owned for several years and we had outgrown it. We probably outgrew it six or seven years ago,” Dirksen said.
Fire chief Len Garis said that while the department has been outgrowing the previous facility for a number of years, it just took the department time to save the money.
The facility, Garis said, cost $5.2 million.
Garis said it’s a high-tech facility and looks forward into the future.
“We wanted to build something that had much more flexibility in the way that we accommodated our various different training”, Garis said. “We have changed the way that we train, like we do all of our recruit training. Now it’s done in-house, as opposed to hiring certified individuals because it’s turned out to be almost the same investment whether we hire somebody that’s certified.
“We started training them ourselves and so we needed a facility for that, so there’s a lot of changed that have taken place in the organization as we’ve grown into a big-city department.”
While the facility includes classrooms for training, Garis said it can also be used for training scenarios.
For example, the building includes an elevator.
“We can actually practice and demonstrate elevator rescues and those types of things. We turned the facility into a lot of training scenarios or props that we can use within a facility to enhance our training, where we’ve had to go offsite before.
“It’s a multi-faceted facility, not just a classroom.”
With file from Amy Reid