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Taking it to the next level

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Volunteer firefighters from across Nunavut were in Rankin Inlet to take their Level Two training earlier this month.

NNSL photo/graphic

Charles Nivingalak and Baker Lake Fire Chief Johnny Naukatsik, right, race to a burning vehicle fire during Level 2 firefighting training in Rankin Inlet in September of 2011. - Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

The two-week course includes both classroom and live fire training exercises.

The program was facilitated by well-known instructor Jim Fairbank of Melville, Sask.

Johnny Naukatsik was among the firefighters who came to Rankin for the Level Two training.

Naukatsik has been the fire chief in Baker Lake for the past five months.

He was a firefighter in Baker for two years before accepting the chief's position, and had also spent 19 years as a volunteer firefighter in Rankin Inlet. "It was way back in the 1980s when I first took all my training courses, so it was time for me to go back and take them again to refresh my knowledge, " said Naukatsik.

"We learned a whole different way of doing things back in those days, and today's courses are much improved over what they were back then.

"We had people here from Kugluktuk, Cambridge Bay, Kangiqtugaapik (Clyde River), Kinngait (Cape Dorset), Iglulik, Arviat and Coral Harbour, as well as two locals.

"Every community benefits from having people take this training."

Naukatsik has refreshed his training for Level One, pump operation and Level Two since this past July.

He said there was a lot of good teamwork between the firefighters during the Level Two training.

"Everybody helped each other during the course and that's the way it should be.

"We're fellow brothers, as firefighters, the way we see it.

"Everyone co-operated with each other and the instruction we received was excellent."

Naukatsik said being a volunteer firefighter is an important role in Nunavut communities.

He said those who become volunteer firefighters do so for the good of their community.

"You'll always have those in the community who, maybe, don't know what we're doing and think we're just there for fun, but we're not.

"We're trained and ready when fire strikes.

"It would be nice to see a lot more people in our communities put the time in to become volunteer firefighters.

"We only had 10 in the Baker department, but, we've been recruiting more and now we have that number up to 15, but we'd still like to see more people get involved for the good of their community."

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