Canadian Firefighter Magazine

Sioux Lookout and IFNA fire services work together

By Mike Stimpson, Local Journalism Initiative   

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May 7, 2024, Sioux Lookout, Ont. – There’s a new memorandum of understanding between two northern fire departments – and both parties stand to benefit greatly from it, according to Sioux Lookout fire services Chief Jeremy Funk.

In fact, he said Monday, municipal and First Nations firefighters already have seen benefits from the Independent First Nations Alliance (IFNA) and the Municipality of Sioux Lookout collaborating.

“We’ve already done a little bit of training together where IFNA brought up instructors from southern Ontario that I wouldn’t normally have access to and we included members of the Sioux Lookout fire department in that training program here,” Funk said.

“They brought in the instructors and covered the cost of that, and we provided some equipment and the facility here to run the course,” he explained. “That was a nice rescue course we did back in February.”


Another benefit from working together will manifest itself in a couple of months, he said.

IFNA and Sioux Lookout put in a joint application to get a provincial “mobile live fire training unit” to come to the northern municipality, he said, and it will be in Sioux Lookout for a week in July.

“We’ll be mixing in the training with firefighters from both Sioux Lookout municipal fire department and the IFNA communities as they are able to bring them down and rotate them through for that week,” he said.

Sioux Lookout resources include technical rescue specialists, disaster responders, instructors and other trained specialists with a focus on fire prevention and protection activities, Funk said.

IFNA, meanwhile, has “a whole variety of equipment” that Sioux Lookout doesn’t have, he added.

The two organizations working together can produce better outcomes in firefighting and the reduction of fire-related harm and deaths in their communities, he said.

“We already have a great working relationship with IFNA’s Integrated Emergency Services team, and this agreement formalizes what we have already been doing informally,” Funk said.

“In our smaller communities, it can be difficult to access the training, equipment, and technology that larger centres take for granted.”

Nicholas Rhone, chief of IFNA’s regional fire rescue services, said the agreement “brings additional opportunities for training and access to equipment to improve our response capabilities and better serve our communities.”

The agreement, which includes training, resources and response to certain calls for service among its features, is in effect through Dec. 31, 2026.

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