Category Archives: School of Public Safety

Emergency Management Division Justice Institute of British Columbia School of Public Safety

JIBC education helps grad pursue a career in emergency management

Kevin Skrepnek, the chief fire information officer for the BC Wildfire Service, recently completed a Certificate in Emergency Management at JIBC to get a better understanding of the industry for which he’s now a spokesperson. 

 

For several years now, Kevin Skrepnek has been the face of the BC Wildfire Service during the summer wildfire season. As chief fire information officer, he serves as the spokesperson for the service ensuring the public receives critical safety information when they need it most, when forest fires start bearing down on homes and people are forced to evacuate.

Armed with a diploma in public relations from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Kevin had the background for his particular line of work. But being new to the world of emergency management, he wanted to get a better understanding of the industry he was now a visible part of.

When Kevin decided to go back to school for a Certificate in Emergency Management, he chose the program at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC).

“I found the courses refreshingly practical, and very hands on. Instructors came with significant real-world experience, which was a huge asset as a learner,” he said. “The program is very flexible, which is great for working professionals looking to expand their skillset.”

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Fire & Safety Division Fire Fighting Technologies Certificate Justice Institute of British Columbia School of Public Safety

JIBC firefighting grads gain a global perspective studying in the UK

JIBC Fire Fighting Technologies Certificate (FFTC) graduates Nick Cirillo and Rorie Moir recently arrived at The Fire Service College in the UK to participate in a special opportunity to study abroad for two weeks and gain invaluable international firefighter training experience.

This new opportunity for JIBC FFTC students is part of the Fire Protection in the Global Community course and is made possible through funding from the Irving K. Barber One World Scholarship administered by the Victoria Foundation, and with additional support from The Justice Institute of British Columbia Foundation.

Check back often to see their latest updates below about their learning experience at one of the largest firefighter training schools in the world:

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Fire & Safety Division Fire Fighting Technologies Certificate Justice Institute of British Columbia School of Public Safety

Part-time JIBC firefighter training program helps grad pursue her dream career

Chantal MacLeod didn’t hesitate to enroll in the part-time offering of JIBC’s Fire Fighting Technologies Certificate program which allowed her to continue working full-time while pursuing her dream of a firefighting career. (Photo by Jesse Erlich)

 

Chantal MacLeod has always been interested in pursuing a career in firefighting but found it difficult to take time off work to do so.

For several years, Chantal has worked full time as a lifeguard and swim instructor at a local community centre. The job has given her the opportunity to use her first aid skills and to work in an environment that fosters teamwork.

She conducted extensive research on firefighting schools, which included attending one of the Justice Institute of British Columbia’s (JIBC) Fire Fighting Workshops for Women supported by The JIBC Foundation and donor Jessica Roberts. Participants got to put on full turnout gear and try their hand at activities including raising ladders, hose handling, a dummy drag and climbing stairs while wearing self-contained breathing apparatus.

“I was so glad that I spent that rainy Saturday up at JIBC, it sparked a new, more intense interest and reaffirmed my passion to be part of the fire service,” Chantal said. “As a woman, I felt it was extremely helpful to have an info session for women with amazing female training officers.”

Following the info session she decided JIBC’s Fire Fighting Technologies Certificate (FFTC) program was the right fit for her. When she learned it was being offered as a part-time program, she jumped at the chance and enrolled in the first cohort.
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Fire & Safety Division Fire Fighting Technologies Certificate Justice Institute of British Columbia School of Public Safety

Be the one fighting fires

August 10, 2016 - Vancouver, BC - Photos for JIBC. Photos by Jimmy Jeong

Adam Iwama credits his JIBC training with helping him successfully transition from work in kinesiology to a second career as a firefighter. (Story by Wanda Chow / Photo by Jimmy Jeong)

 

Every day on the job with Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service, Adam Iwama is reminded of the lessons he learned during his firefighter training at Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC).

Adam was part of a fire crew recently called out to a fire at a rubber mat-manufacturing plant.

“The call came in as a small smoldering fire and naturally, we expected just that. However things took a quick turn when we pulled out of the hall to a large plume of thick black smoke coming from the area.”

When they arrived, they found a huge blaze outside fuelled by pallets loaded with rubber mats. They were very close to the side of the building which threatened to catch fire too.

It would be a big job to tackle in any case, but since they were responding to what was reported as a minor fire, they were the only fire engine on scene until additional crews could show up following his captain’s update.

“Being understaffed for a period of time at such a fire called on us to be extremely efficient with our resources and left us with absolutely no room for error in our techniques employed in efforts to keep the building from catching,” Adam recalled.

“During this fire more than any other one to date, it was critical for me to utilize the training I received from JIBC. How to individually manage a 2.5-inch fire hose line for an extended period of time, to conserve your air intake while exerting high energy, and how to communicate in a very dynamic and challenging environment are but some of the skills taught to me at the Maple Ridge campus that I employed.”

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Emergency Management Division Justice Institute of British Columbia School of Public Safety

JIBC degree helps grad find purpose and realize passion to keep communities safe

Melodie Hutmacher is now working in her dream job in emergency management after learning of the growing field and completing JIBC’s Bachelor of Emergency and Security Management Studies program.

 

A few years ago, Melodie Hutmacher was searching for a career where she could make a difference. She found it at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC).

Today, Melodie is working in her dream job in emergency management helping to keep communities safe. As the Regional Emergency Systems Coordinator for the Regional Emergency Management Partnership, her role is to coordinate projects on Vancouver Island that strengthen and enhance emergency plans in the Capital Regional District.

It’s a role filled with purpose: to help communities prepare, mitigate, respond and recover from all sorts of emergencies and disasters. JIBC’s Bachelor of Emergency and Security Management Studies is Canada’s first degree of its kind in this growing field that Melodie didn’t even know existed prior to visiting JIBC’s website.

“Upon reading the description for the degree, I instantly knew I had found the path I wanted to take. It was as if the write-up was speaking directly to me: this field was everything I was looking for all my adult life. I was so excited, I filled in my application that same day.”

Through the program, she developed “a great sense of being a part of something bigger. I knew that what I learned at JIBC would take me into a career that I love. And it did. The instructors and staff are knowledgeable, helpful, and engaged. They made themselves available to provide insight and perspectives on their experiences and to answer questions. It was also a wonderful opportunity to meet and learn from other students from all over the world.”

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Fire & Safety Division Fire Fighting Technologies Certificate Justice Institute of British Columbia School of Public Safety

El Salvador training trip filled with learning experiences for JIBC firefighting grads

From left: Kim Saulnier, FIre Prevention Inspector at District of North Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services and JIBC lead instructor, JIBC fire graduates Ryanna Smith, Spencer Kyte, Tommy Robertson, and Douglas Race, and Jenn Dawkins of Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services, at the presentation by the 2018 One World students at JIBC’s New Westminster campus recently.

 

Firefighting graduates from the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) recently completed a special deployment to El Salvador to support essential firefighter training in the Central American country.

While they provided training demonstrations, public education sessions and performed community work, they returned home having learned a great deal themselves, and gained a greater appreciation for the resources firefighters have available to them in Canada.

The five students, all graduates of JIBC’s Fire Fighting Technologies Certificate program, travelled to El Salvador on an almost three-week deployment, to visit numerous local fire halls and train local firefighters. This special program is made possible with support from the Fire Rescue International Training Association (FRITA) and student scholarships from the Irving K. Barber One World International Scholarship administered by the Victoria Foundation with additional support from JIBC.

The five 2018 One World Scholarship students, Spencer Kyte, Connor Llewellyn, Douglas Race, Tommy Robertson and Ryanna Smith, became four when Llewellyn had to return home a few days into the trip, upon learning he had been hired by Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services. read more »

Fire & Safety Division Fire Fighting Technologies Certificate Justice Institute of British Columbia School of Public Safety The JIBC Foundation

JIBC prepares Olympian to be a firefighter

Britt Benn, a member of Canada’s 2016 Olympic bronze medal-winning women’s rugby team, is all smiles after completing JIBC’s Fire Fighting Technologies Certificate program. (Story and photos by Wanda Chow)

 

Olympic rugby player Brittany “Britt” Benn was looking for the makings of a new team to join and she’s confident she’s found it, thanks to Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC).

Britt, a member of Canada’s bronze medal-winning women’s rugby team at the Rio Olympics, decided to pursue a firefighting career and enrolled in JIBC’s Fire Fighting Technologies Certificate (FFTC) program. She completed the online portion from home in Victoria, where she trains with Rugby Canada, and then recently completed seven weeks of hands-on training at JIBC’s Maple Ridge campus, one of the most comprehensive firefighter training facilities in Western Canada.

“It’s a different team and I’ve been only training with women my whole life, so to come into a male-dominated class, I just had to adapt,” said Britt, 28. “That being said, nothing’s different. Women versus men, it’s just teamwork … You learn unity and how to work with each other to achieve one common goal and it’s the exact same on the rugby team.”

The time at the Maple Ridge campus was physically challenging, partly because Britt followed her 10-hour days at JIBC with three additional hours of daily workouts to maintain her fitness levels to the standards of the national women’s rugby team.

As for the hands-on training itself, Britt said, “The past seven weeks has been an incredible experience but it hasn’t been easy. They’re long days with many challenges you have to push through physically and mentally.”

Her class became her new family and she confirmed that firefighting is the right fit for her future plans beyond rugby. read more »

Emergency Management Division Justice Institute of British Columbia School of Public Safety

Japanese student takes JIBC lessons home to Asia

Hitoshi Igarashi recently completed course work in New Westminster as part of JIBC’s Emergency Management Certificate program. He hopes to adopt elements of the North American system of disaster response in Japan and other countries that he works with through the Community Emergency Management Institute of Japan. (Story and photo by Wanda Chow)

 

Hitoshi Igarashi is no stranger to natural disasters. From the 2011 Fukushima incident and the Tohoku tsunami that followed in Japan to Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines and numerous disasters in Indonesia and Sri Lanka, he’s seen it all.

“I’m like a disaster chaser,” Hitoshi, 51, joked while completing course work in New Westminster as part of the Emergency Management Certificate program at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC).

With a master’s degree from the University of Oregon and an undergraduate degree from Eastern Washington University, Hitoshi was looking for a short program to expand his knowledge and skills and learn how emergency management is done in Canada, which has a similar government structure to that in Japan.

He chose JIBC’s program in particular because he wanted to learn from experienced instructors who were well versed in preparing for, and responding to, the types of natural disasters faced in British Columbia. This includes earthquakes and forest fires, which are similar to those of the west coast of the United States and in Japan.

The fact that most of JIBC’s program is conducted online meant he could learn at his own pace, as long as he was meeting deadlines, while still being able to communicate with instructors, which was a particular benefit when he was working in Indonesia. All that remained was one week of intensive coursework at JIBC in person on campus.

“It’s very flexible for working professionals and international travelers.”

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