Matt Treit, Fire Chief
The month of August was a fairly slow one from the point of view of emergency response. The TRFD responded to a total of fourteen calls this month, including one report of a smell of gas, four reports of ringing fire alarms, and nine First Responder calls.
Despite the continued hot and dry weather that month, we did manage to avoid any wildfires in our immediate area. The one fire of note in our area is the Mount McAllister fire near Chetwynd, which continues to burn despite the cooler weather. At the time of writing this the fire is about 60% contained.
Also in the month of August, the fire department participated in the annual Grizfest parade, and conducted its annual Muscular Dystrophy Boot Drive. This year members of the TRFD collected $1789.10 and the Tumbler Ridge Firefighters would like to thank all of those who contributed to this worthwhile cause.
Training in the month of August included industrial rescue, the use of Class B foam, auto-extrication, and our annual Family Practice where the families of firefighters attend and participate in some firefighting activities. Congratulations to Deputy Vandale, Captain Curry, Lieutenant Braam, and Firefighters Ross and Hall who all achieved 100% attendance at training sessions this past month.
A further congratulations goes out to Firefighter Adam Hall who has completed his probationary training and is now a full member of the Tumbler Ridge Fire Department. Another significant milestone was reached in August by Firefighter Doug Beale who has now completed 15 years with the TRFD. Congratulations Doug on this momentous achievement.
Traditionally I include some sort of safety message with my article, something intended to prevent accidents or fires, but this month I am going to alter that and offer a message about health. The reason for the change is a reflection of the types of emergencies to which the TRFD has responded this year.
So far this year, the TRFD has responded to six fatal medical emergencies (heart attacks), and this is certainly unprecedented for our organization. Half of these individuals were less than sixty years old. While we did have an unusually hot summer, I don’t think there is a single factor that can account for this unusually high number deaths. This particular cause of death also hits home with us as firefighters, as heart attacks are the leading cause of death among firefighters, accounting for almost half of the Line of Duty Deaths. The steps to reduce your risk for heart attacks and strokes are not complicated:
- Avoid smoking and exposure to second hand smoke
- Maintain a healthy blood pressure. This can now be checked at the Community Centre.
- Monitor your cholesterol. This can be done in conjunction with your doctor.
- Watch what you eat. If you take in more calories than you burn, you will inevitably gain an excessive amount of weight.
- Exercise regularly. Something as simple as walking every day can provide numerous health benefits.
We all may have excuses as to why we can’t do all or any of these things, but the fact is that there is nothing more important than our health, and so it is best to stop making excuses and start taking steps to improve our health.
The TRFD is still looking for new members, so if you are of good character and are willing to commit to regular training, we would like to hear from you. Call or stop by during regular business hours. The number is 250-242-3939. No experience is required.