A coroner’s jury in Ontario, Canada came back with a recommendation that ice-rescue trainings be curtailed until they can be performed safely. Two firefighters died in separate training incidents that were the subject of the jury’s inquisition.
Firefighters Gary Kendall and Adam Brunt died during ice-rescue trainings in swift-water conditions. The jury said an expert committee should determine if such training can be conducted safely.
Although the jury’s recommendations are not legally binding, Brunt’s father said the results gave him hope that others firefighters may not die in the same manner.
“The people that are opting to get into first responders as a career deserve to be protected, deserve safety,” Al Brunt told CBC News outside the inquest. “Just to take a training course they shouldn’t have to put their life on the line and that’s hopefully what these policies, once enacted, will protect going forward.”
Kendall died in 2010; Brunt died in 2015. Both deaths were deemed accidental, but brought scrutiny to the training methods and the private training company involved with both incidents.
“The only sad thing for me is that we did not have this coroner’s inquest after the 2010 death of Gary Kendall,” Kendall family lawyer Alex Van Kralingen told CBC News. “The family, as you know, asked for an inquest at the time because they felt that there were systemic issues surrounding this sort of training, which were not being properly managed. No one listened to them and Adam died in 2015.”