By Justin Seward
The Bow Island Fire Department has been working on equipment projects to include in their accident plans when the call to duty comes for bigger truck collisions.
With the increased number of calls to larger vehicle accident scenes, the department has been working on purchasing heavy rescue equipment to better stabilize vehicles and upgrading their self breathing apparatuses.
In the past, the fire department had to go to a heavy truck call and it was the members that had to cut up the vehicle in sections as the scene went along.
“We have struts for stabilizing vehicles,” said Bow Island fire chief Kelly Byam.
“They’re not rated for the heavier vehicles. It’s just nice to have that equipment so if we do need to stabilize, it’s actually stabilized for the job that we’re doing.”
Newer equipment is made possible because of the donations in a small community.
“In a smaller community, it’s just amazing that we do get the response from the different groups with donations,” said Byam.
“A lot of this equipment is very pricey. We do very much appreciate the assistance from the different groups and individual families with their help.”
Byam says the fire department tries to be proactive rather than debating what equipment they need in time of responding to an incident.
“We like to get it in place before we get to that (situation) where we wish we could have had this,” he said.
“It comes down to helping people and saving lives.”
Bow Island Building Supplies also donated a saw to the fire department recently.
The department’s inaugural Battle of the Badges golf tournament fundraiser last summer allowed the town’s firefighter’s to give back to the community as well.
“We were able to give donations to very worthwhile scholarships at Gershaw as well as HALO, the food bank and the Children’s hospital in Calgary,” said Byam.
“It worked out really well because it’s not just about always having our hand out. But we’re able and willing to pass it on to other worthwhile causes.”
While having the appropriate equipment is pivotal, having an adequate number of volunteer firefighters goes a long way when heading to a call.
Byam says the number of members has increased to 22 with a 23rd on the way in the next month.
“We like to keep the numbers up,” he said.
“It’s nice to have a larger number because you never know what people’s schedules are going to be. It’s always been a challenge in smaller communities to maintain the numbers. “We’ve been pretty fortunate with people willing to volunteer and jump on board”
The ideal number of members is 24 and fire staff is working on it, he added.
He hopes to have more advanced training for local firefighters in the months to come.
Byam says 2019 has been steady as the fire department has responded to eight motor vehicle calls.