• James Armstrong

Saint-Lazare fire department trains to always be prepared


Learning how to wield a chainsaw on a roof and manipulate an extension ladder into place is part of a recent training exercise for the Saint-Lazare Fire Department.

Simulated smoke began to billow from a hole in the roof of a house on chemin Sainte-Angélique in Saint-Lazare on Tuesday, May 22 as local firefighters began a three-hour procedure exercise.

“We do training sessions twice per month every month except July and August,” said Chef de division et prévention, Martin Tanguay. He described the set-up as a situation where the smoke and heat inside the building had developed to the point where it needed to be released through openings in the roof before the firefighters could safely enter the building.

On-site were 10 firefighters with a ladder truck and assorted equipment. The exercise consisted of two parts – manipulating the ladder truck correctly and climbing ladders carrying equipment, including a chainsaw, to cut holes in the roof.

According to the press release from the town administration earlier in the day, the simulated smoke is not a health hazard and that all necessary authorizations had been obtained.

“We used this house two weeks ago for the same kind of training,” added Tanguay of the uninhabited structure near the corner of Rue Saint-Germain.

Each firefighter is evaluated on how well they performed the exercise according to Tanguay.

“If they don’t do it correctly, then they will have to do it again,” he said.

Despite a downpour of rain, the training exercise continued on what was a busy evening for the fire department.

“We also have another team back at the fire station receiving training in fighting forest fires,” said Tanguay. He noted that out of a department of 43 members, five are full-time plus two full-time firefighters at the station. The Director, Assistant Director, two Division Chiefs and Captain comprise the five-fulltime people.

See more photos of the exercise on our Facebook page.