It was a sea of uniforms on the evening of January 28th. While it was the annual meeting for the Fire Department, special guests always include the Tumbler Ridge RCMP detachment. In Mayor Clay Illes absence this year, was Acting Mayor Don McPherson. This was a night of statistics, humour, brotherhood and above all else, honour. The camaraderie was evident with the mixture of congratulations and good-natured joking.
A good part of the AGM, of course, was spent giving reports on all the necessary details of the past year. Tracking logged through the fire department are emergency calls charted by day, month and year. Duty attendance is tracked and commended, as are duty hours, training attendance and training hours.
A summary of the type of emergency calls was presented with statistics of the top two: alarms ringing at 33%; motor vehicle incident 17%; followed by many other percentages for different calls, such as report of fire; structure fire; brush fire; grass fire; smell of smoke; public service and dumpster fire.
The report handed out had a page entitled ?Did You Know? with several interesting facts that many might be unaware of. It read: 1) Over 56,000 hours have been spent training firefighters since 1983. 2) TR Fire Department has had 1555 calls since 1982. 3) Average calls per year (1982-2004) were 68. 4) Average response time (can seem higher due to lengthy highway travel time when necessary) 7.4 minutes 5) Most calls in 2004 were on Saturdays. 5) Most calls in 2004 were in June. 6) Most calls in 2004 were between 2:00-3:00 pm and 10:00-11:00 pm. 7) 2004 had the lowest calls per year, tying with 2000, with 32 calls.
An exceptionally proud moment for the department was the announcement of Firefighter of the Year (2004), which went to volunteer firefighter Scott Beattie. This recipient is chosen on the advice of fire officers and fellow firefighters based on the contribution the individual shows above and beyond the call of duty. As a largely volunteer emergency service, that almost goes without saying. Beattie received a personal plaque for the honour, as well as his name on a department plaque which hangs in the fire hall. Fire Chief Dan Golob, who took command in August 2004 says, ?It has been a pleasure working with this fire department.? Golob replaced former Fire Chief Gordon (Shorty) Smith who relocated to Dawson Creek.
A special treat was the lovely Highland dancing performed by Golob?s two daughters, Danielle, 14 and Bianca, 13. The girls train with Strathcona Highland Dance based in Edmonton, Alberta.
The TR Fire Department expresses the constant call for more recruits. The fact that this is a volunteer department shows the commitment and sense of reward the firefighters obviously have, but there is always a need for many more hands. Many of the volunteers work out of town for lengthy periods and cannot be available at all times, if at all. If you are 19 years of age or over and have a valid drivers license, the TR Fire Department urges you to see the Fire Chief and fill out an application.
Golob says with great sincerity, ?I?ve never seen such a dedicated group of firefighters as in Tumbler Ridge and I have seen many in my career, over the years. This community should be very proud.?