Dimensions Tech Services is a specialized company that mostly provides technical training to emergency services staff in the Yukon. It was started in 2012 by Warren Zakus, former training officer with the Whitehorse Fire Department. Since then, it has grown from one employee to eight employees, including one full-time service technician, six part-time instructors, a part-time admin assistant and Zakus.
Zakus has been been building and inventing things since he was a kid.
“I built a hovercraft in my parents’ garage as a teenager as well as a jet engine,” said Zakus. “As a kid, I learned computer programing, electronics, basic mechanics, welding, and just about anything I could if it had something to do with the way something works or how to build something I was interested in. A lot of the knowledge and skills that I’ve learned over the years from experimenting have contributed to building our training props and making Dimensions Tech what it is today.”
Zakus moved to the Yukon in 2001 to work as the training officer for the Whitehorse Fire Department. After 11 years, he decided to transition his career.
“I was ready for a change and, in my position as a training officer, I saw a need for many of the services that Dimensions Tech now provides, so I started the company to provide those services,” said Zakus. “There were a number of services we required at the fire department that no one was providing, at least not locally. There were also a lot of new regulatory requirements being applied to the fire service and industry. (Those included) respirator fit testing and breathing air sampling. Dimensions helps companies to adapt and comply with new safety standards.”
Dimensions Tech offers confined space rescue, rope rescue, advanced anchoring for rope rescue, mine rescue, fire behaviour, advanced pump operations, auto extrication and firefighting skills. They also provide driver training including winter driving, emergency vehicle operator courses for fire and EMS, and even a course on how to back up safely.
“Our customers are really happy that we are able to provide the services that we do. A lot of what we do on the service side of things, someone had to come up from down south to do before, so customers are happy that there is someone local to do it now,” said Zakus. “On the training side, I’ve always tried to go the extra mile to provide fun and interesting training to my students. Like building our confined space rescue prop that can travel the Yukon, or building a clear replica of a fire truck with a working fire pump, so pump operator students can see and understand what’s happening inside the firetruck.”
Most of the courses are intended for people in emergency services, but it can depend on the course. For example, the winter driving courses are open to the public. “After our courses, the response from the students is always very positive,” said Zakus. “People have fun and are excited about what they have learned. I think that students learn best when they are learning through experimentation and are having fun.”
Zakus has always made science fun and interesting. You can see from his interesting YouTube videos, where he tests science in the real world.
“I’ve always enjoyed science, particularly understanding how things work. There are various things I’ve always wanted to try,” said Zakus. “Pouring liquid propane into a glass when it’s minus 43 degrees outside was something I thought would be fun. My first winter in the Yukon I finally lived somewhere cold enough that I could give it a try. I made a video of the demonstration that has since been featured on the Discovery Channel and is now used in firefighting schools across North America. I get excited about trying different experiments and seeing what happens and I like sharing that with my students.”
He also designs and builds most of his own training equipment.
“The confined space trailer is definitely the largest one. It is a large tank on top of a trailer, so we can transport it. It has a deck with a hatch on the top for simulating vertical confined space access. It also has two horizontal openings that are 18-inch diameter pipes that simulate a horizontal access. We incorporated a slow-pull machine for testing different loads on equipment, as well as a davit arm for drop testing,” said Zakus. “I’m really happy with how it turned out. It’s very versatile for teaching different confined space scenarios and the students enjoy the challenge of it.”Visit Dimensions Tech Services on Facebook for more information and to view the public courses, such as winter driving, visit Northern Safety Network Yukon at www.YukonSafety.com.