West District Fire Department

Busy year for department

(Photo submitted)

Number of members: 25 members

Chief: John Weisgerber

Engines/vehicles:

Engine 12, Rescue Engine 3, Tender 8 and Tender 18 Command 11 and Bush 4. A replacement engine for Rescue Engine 3, which is on order with tentative delivery date of October, 2021.

Engine 3 has been serving for close to 20 years as the first-out engine, according to Ponoka County Regional Fire Services Protective Services Coordinator Donna Noble.

The West District Fire Department has noted an increase in all call types, but notably in outside fires and alarm calls. Some can be contributed with families spending more time at home. The Rimbey hall responded to a total of 116 calls in 2021 (up to Sept. 28, 2021), up from 73 in 2020.

“Thankfully in all cases, where the residence was occupied, the occupants were able to get out successfully as a result of working smoke alarms,” said Noble.

Alarm calls, where there was no fire, increased from 13 to 30, and grass or rubbish fires were up from seven in 2021, t0 20 this year and residents are reminded to know the alarm company phone number and answer the phone when an accidental activation occurs.

One of the most note-able calls for the department was on June 30,. The West District worked in collaboration with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry for a wildfire on the west end of the County in the Rocky Forest Protection Area. That area encompasses the portion of the county west of Range Road 44 and mutual aid agreements are in place for that area.

The fire, which members were on scene for, for about eight hours, was possibly caused by a downed power line, however, the Rimbey department wasn’t updated on that situation.

The West District members are also continuing with in-house training as permitted following COVID restrictions and guidelines.

Ponoka County Regional Fire Services received a donation from G3 in Stettler of a grain rescue tube and auger to assist with grain engulfment incidents.

The equipment, which is housed in the East District hall, it is scheduled to arrive in Ponoka for the weekend of Nov. 5. It will provide practical training for the members respecting rescue and recovery operations involving grain.

Noble and Stan Schultz are master trainers for the grain engulfment rescue course offered by Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA). The grain engulfment trailer owned by CASA travels Canad,a providing hands-on training for fire department.