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NWCC signs three-way partnership pact

TERRACE Northwest Community College (NWCC), the City of Terrace Fire Department and the First Nations Emergency Services Society of B.C. (FNESS) signed a partnership framework last month thats intended pool each of the organizations resources to better deliver emergency services training in the Northwest. The agreement states its ultimate purpose is to more effectively deliver emergency services training opportunities to adult populations and communities of northern British Columbia through the development of a larger, more integrated, and more comprehensive educational strategy than could be provided by the three organizations working on their own. Fire departments and bands are challenged by limited resources to offer the training that they need to provide, said NWCC President Stephanie Forsyth. Last year, the College partnered with the Terrace Fire Department to assist with training opportunities and, as a result, offered more training to crews and emergency response groups in the area. This partnership builds on this model by formalizing our relationship with the Terrace department and expanding on our reach by joining forces with FNESS. In the immediate future, we hope to have fire departments throughout the Northwest join this initiative so that a plan of fire and emergency training can be developed and delivered, states Forsyth. The partnership respects the commitment, autonomy, and mandate of all three organizations and each partner accepts that collaboration through mutual support trumps independent or competitive action. The objective of this partnership agreement is to establish a framework for collaborative planning and coordination of emergency services programs and training that will maximize the human and physical resources of the three organizations, expand and enhance the capacities of the three organizations, and bring together the capabilities of the three organizations, states the Framework Agreement. Representing each group was NWCC Board of Governors Chair Irene Seguin, Terrace Fire Department Chief Peter Weeber and Blaine Wiggins and Pernell Marchand of FNESS. On hand for the announcement was Darien Blackwater of Hagwilget, the young boy who fell into a Kitwanga septic tank earlier this year and was later put on life support. Credit for saving his life went to the Kitwanga emergency crew that pulled him out of the septic tank and FNESS, funded by Indian and Northern Affairs (INAC), which equips rural Aboriginal communities with the latest fire fighting equipment and training devices. Ken McNeil, an instructor with NWCCs Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art whose late father Max was instrumental in founding FNESS in the late 1980s, spoke about the important work FNESS does in rural Aboriginal communities and the pride he felt in representing his father. It was nice to see my dad honoured that way, said McNeil, adding his late father spent the last 10-plus years of his life working to build and promote FNESS throughout the province. The three parties involved have also partnered, along with CN, to build a new regional fire training centre on the NWCC Terrace Campus. The centre is slated to open this fall.

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