Fire department benefits from co-op student hires

University of Victoria engineering students Alex McKay (left) and Nicholas Saar developed pre-fire plans for CFB Esquimalt Fire Rescue. During their four- month work study project they developed PDF maps of high traffic buildings at the base in an effort to help first responders quickly identfy the features in the buidlings they are entering.

University of Victoria engineering students Alex McKay (left) and Nicholas Saar developed pre-fire plans for CFB Esquimalt Fire Rescue. During their four- month work study project they developed PDF maps of high traffic buildings at the base in an effort to help first responders quickly identfy the features in the buidlings they are entering.

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

Two engineering students from the University of Victoria are being hailed for their co-op placement project of designing new pre-fire plans for CFB Esquimalt Fire Rescue.

During a four-month work study term, which started September 2016 and ended December 2016, Alex McKay and Nicholas Saar mapped in detail 146 of the base’s approximately 800 buildings.

Their digital maps outline stairwells, fire exits, fire extinguishers, hazardous materials, locations of sprinklers and alarms, electrical systems, and a complete list of equipment and supplies that could pose a threat to emergency crews.

“Their project will be very helpful to the battalion chief and the entire unit,” said Geordie Douglas, Deputy Chief, CFB Esquimalt Fire Rescue. “When our crews arrive at the scene of an emergency at a structure on base the maps will show our crews the potential hazards on the site and give them an understanding of the layout of the building.”

For their efforts the two students, both entering their third year of a five-year program, were each presented a commemorative coin from Capt(N) Steve Waddell, Base Commander. Douglas says their awards were well deserved noting they helped to solve huge gaps in both detail and accessibility of existing pre-fire plans.

The maps have been downloaded to computers located inside the fire department’s vehicles.

“There was a big emphasis on making the maps of the buildings clear and easy to understand for firefighters working in a stressful situation,” said McKay. “We didn’t want to overload them with information, but have everything necessary mapped out so they can do their job.”

The students focussed the bulk of their mapping on high traffic buildings such as Fleet Maintenance Facility, Maritime Forces Pacific Headquarters, the Naden Athletic Centre, the Wardroom and Work Point’s Naval Officer Training Centre accommodations building.

“We realized very quickly once we took on the project how important those plans are because one mistake or error could cause a casualty,” said Saar.

Pre-fire plans for the remaining buildings have yet to be done, but Douglas said the work of McKay and Saar at planning and implementing the plan, along with mapping some of the base’s more prominent structures, was crucial.

CFB Esquimalt Fire Rescue anticipate the arrival of two new students who will continue the work of Saar and McKay.

Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author: The Lookout Newspaper can trace its history back to April 1943 when CFB Esquimalt’s first newspaper was published. Since then, Lookout has grown into the award winning source for Pacific Navy News. Leading the way towards interactive social media reach, we are a community resource newspaper growing a world wide audience.

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