More than 60 firefighters from throughout the North Island came to Comox for an informational day. Photo supplied.

Comox Fire Rescue ‘pays it forward‘ with day of learning

Comox Fire Rescue recently hosted its annual “Pay it Forward” day for other Vancouver Island fire departments.

Comox brought in two excellent presenters to share safety information with firefighters from 19 Wing, Cumberland, Oyster River, Fanny Bay, Ships Point, Qualicum, Cherry Creek, Sidney, Campbell River, Bow Horn Bay, Sontula and Sathlam. Over 60 firefighters attended this great day at no cost to them. All costs were covered through the Comox Fire Training Centre.

The first presenter, Dr. Kenneth Kunz delivered a powerful message about job-related cancer in firefighters. Statistics show that firefighters have a much higher risk of getting cancer. Dr. Kunz discussed a variety of ways for firefighters to reduce their risks. This was Dr. Kunz’s third presentation at Comox Fire Training Centre in the past four years.

The second presenter was Lionel Crowther. Lionel has been a firefighter for the last 21 years and is now a lieutenant with the Winnipeg Fire Department.

On Feb. 4, 2007, a tragic fire changed the lives of the Crowther family. Lionel and two other firefighters were caught in a flashover in a single-family home fire. Lionel suffered severe burns to 70 per cent of his body. Tragically, Captains Lessard and Nichols did not survive.

Since that incident, Lionel, his wife and family have epitomized the meaning of resiliency, hope and survival. Lionel came to Comox to explain the many challenges and triumphs he and his family faced because of this tragic incident, from the very personal view of being a husband, father and survivor.

“I truly appreciated being able to spend the time in Comox with your department,” said Crowther. “What a great team you have developed! I read a lot and many of the leadership articles I read, epitomized the work you’ve done here in Comox. Thank you again for the opportunity to speak with your members & for your island hospitality!”

“I am so proud of our team here for reaching out and sharing with other fire departments and for assisting us with bringing in these excellent presenters,” said Comox Fire Chief Gord Schreiner. “Our firefighters give so much of themselves and we work hard every day to ensure our firefighters are well-trained and have the latest information when it comes to safety.”

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