Fighting fires in the remote and harsh Arctic environment is difficult. Fighting them without the proper training or facilities has been a real challenge for Rankin Inlet’s Fire Department.

That’s why Agnico Eagle Nunavut contributed $250,000 when the Meliadine mine opened in 2019, toward building the Rankin Inlet Fire Department’s new Regional Fire Training Centre. Now officially opened, the Centre allows firefighters to train in practical, real time fire and rescue situations – enabling every firefighter to be better equipped and the communities in the North to be safer and better prepared to deal with emergency incidents.

It took Fire Chief Mark Wyatt nearly five years to raise the funds and pull together the plans to build the right facility to professionally train local firefighters to international standards.

“This project – and our partnership with Agnico Eagle – will revolutionize the quality and way firefighters are trained in Rankin Inlet and throughout Nunavut, in real-life conditions and on multiple levels. It will also enable us to work and train with Agnico Eagle’s Emergency Response Team in the future. We are specialists in live fire training and can work with the AEM team on live fire techniques. AEM specializes in areas like confined space and high-angle rescue, which are areas we want to get better at. By cross-training, there are opportunities for us to work together to help both teams become better.”

The Regional Fire Training Centre is located in Rankin Inlet, away from the residential community, on open land north of town opposite Nipisar Lake. It is a three-story structure custom built from sea cans. It allows the Fire Department to run a multitude of fire scenarios with a brigade of over 18 firefighters including:

  • live fire suppression
  • tactical ventilation
  • sprinkler systems and how to stop water flow in a sprinkler head
  • search and rescue, rapid intervention training (RIT), multiple fires on multiple levels
  • and confined space training, multi-story buildings, high angle, forcible entry, pitched and flat roof ventilation training and much more.

Chief Wyatt said, “When Agnico Eagle stepped up with its donation, we went from the development stage to the construction phase and got the Centre built this year. Agnico Eagle made our dream a reality, and we couldn’t be more grateful.”

A second phase of development is also being planned, which will include additional live fire training related to vehicle fires, flammable liquids, dumpster fires and large propane tank fires.