By Nikki Jamieson
Westwind Weekly News
Local fire departments have partnered together for a fundraising opportunity.
Several departments — including La Crete Fire and Rescue, Bow Island Emergency Services, Coaldale and District Emergency Services, Stirling Fire Department, Milk River Fire Department and Warner Volunteer Fire Department — have partnered together for the Alberta Firefighters Weekly 50/50 Cash Raffle. The first draw, which is administered by the Picture Butte Fire Department, for the raffle goes Friday, Aug. 6.
“We’re trying to make it so that it’s a fundraiser for all firefighters in Alberta, but this is just a start,” said Stirling Fire Chief Robin Fisher, adding the Bow Island department did the original raffle. “It’s a really good tool for raising funds, and it just puts more emphasis on it’s not just one department, it’s as many fire departments looking for the need to find resources outside of their normal operating budget.”
To enter the draw, you need to go online to purchase your ticket, while earmarking what the department the funds will be going to. At the end of the week, the winner of the draw will be getting 50 per cent of the total pot, while the rest of the funds will go towards the different fire departments, who will use those funds for their designated projects.
The Stirling fire department is using the draw as a fundraiser for a new training centre, which will be a live-fire facility, similar to the training tower the City of Lethbridge uses. The facility is a new project for them, and will cost about $90,000 to complete.
“It’s for doing live fire training for our recruits to learn the 1001 for structure fires, but also we have propane props, so we’ll have like a car fire, garbage can fire, we have a gas meter fire, and we’ll have to put them out, and some hazardous material training props as well,” said Fisher.
Currently, the department needs to travel to Vulcan to get this type of training done. Having a facility closer to home will not only cut down on travel time, but will benefit the entire region as well.
Fisher said while they teach their courses, like the NFPA 1001, in house, and they also do joint training with other departments, part of it requires them to do live fire training. The training centre would give them “that one step higher” in their training level.
Fisher noted that there is also constant regulation and safety changes for fire departments to content with, and it is important that they can continuously train and upgrade their skills to better serve their communities.
“Training is probably one of the most important things in the fire service,” said Fisher. “Funding is one of the biggest issues for fire services. Like there’s constant changes happening, and standards are always being increased, and safety and health is a big one. One self-contained breathing apparatus is like $8,000. Well, your budget only goes so far, right. So, that’s what this project is, to try to bring in funds to try to help with the stuff that’s not within the norm of an operational budget.”
To purchase a ticket, visit http://www.rafflebox.ca/raffle/abff/1