Members responded to 271 medical calls in 2013, including everything from abdominal pain to cardiac arrest, to allergic reactions, to diabetic problems, to traffic collisions.
Every Hallowe’en night, all RMES vehicles go out into the townsite of Redwood Meadows, fully staffed, to provide a service called Safe Sites – providing trick-or-treaters with points of safe harbor in case of emergency.
Several members of RMES have had multiple family members on the department at the same time.
RMES has communications capability to talk to almost any emergency response agency it might encounter.
The training RMES members receive is of the same international standard as any other firefighter including those firefighters in a paid/career department.
RMES has the best rating a volunteer fire service can obtain in terms of insurance classifications.
RMES members commit to several “weekend standby” shifts per year, meaning that they remain in the area and available for calls. Other than these periodical duty shifts, the members respond at any time of the day or night, when the alarm goes off.
During the 2013 floods, two RMES members who live in West Bragg Creek were out of their house and working for the department for 89 hours straight.
RMES has been featured in trade magazines (magazines about the fire service) on several occasions.
120 “Squrt” – a 1976 Hendrickson pumper with a 54-foot-tall articulated water nozzle – once protected the Calgary International Airport.
Members receive notification of calls on their mobile phones and email accounts from anywhere in the world.
Prior to the 911 service that came in 1996, RMES was dispatched by members of Cochrane Fire & Ambulance, over a 10-digit long-distance phone number.
In 1995, the year before 911 became available in the area, RMES attended 19 calls. In 1996, during the first year of 911 service, there were 95 calls. In 2013, RMES responded to 414 calls.
120 Rescue carries oxygen masks specifically designed for house pets.
120 Tender has a nickname: “BRUTUS”.
Our longest response (by distance) was to the Exshaw landfill to assist in a fire there – 71 kilometers one-way.
RMES has contracts to provide emergency response to several regions. We are the primary responders for the area of Rockyview County surrounding Bragg Creek, as well as Kananaskis Country accessible from Highway 66; and the west side of the Tsuu T'ina First Nation. We'll also respond anywhere another emergency service requests us, and have gone into the Municipal District of Foothills, the Municipal District of Bighorn, the City of Calgary, and the Town of Cochrane, among other places.
Members are not always standing by at the station waiting for calls. When a call comes in, members must drive to the station in their personal vehicles in everyday traffic at normal speeds.
Redwood Meadows Emergency Services is now known as Station 120 in the Calgary area regional response plan, but was known as Station 50 from 1996 to 2013. The numbering change was done to allow the City of Calgary to expand its station numbers.
All of RMES’s 44 members have some level of medical training. Most are trained to Alberta College of Paramedic standards.
One RMES member developed an interest in emergency services, and came to join the department, after experiencing a life-threatening car crash (to which RMES responded). While this member has since left the area and the department, they are currently working as a paramedic elsewhere.
RMES has a Twitter feed @RMESFire and a Facebook page – http://facebook.com/RMESFire.
Every person who is part of RMES is a volunteer. There are no paychecks.
RMES shares its radio traffic on the Internet (at http://goo.gl/TJEmPk).
Besides fires, rescues, and medical responses, RMES has dealt with many other types of incidents, including rescuing bears from both trees and dumpsters.
Fire trucks have very low mileage compared to other commercial vehicles, but do accumulate more miles than just driving to and from scenes – whenever the pump is flowing water, the odometer is counting because the driveshaft is still spinning.
The first “firehall” in Redwood Meadows was the golf course maintenance shed, which housed a 1962 fire engine retired from the City of North Vancouver. The existing station was built in the late 1980s, with the hose tower built in 1997 and the “back hall” (a second building shared with town public works) in 1998.
Several years ago, a motor vehicle collision scene had an unexpected guest – the Prime Minister’s motorcade passed by.
RMES has provided standby services (in case of emergency) for many different television shows and movies filmed in the region. One of our trucks was even used in scenes of the television show North of 60.
RMES members have gone on to be hired by career fire departments in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Toronto, among other places.
Our members include people from all walks of life, including salespeople, police officers, homemakers, educators, students, flight attendants, pilots, and X-ray technicians.
RMES is one of two fire stations responsible for answering emergency calls at Springbank Airport.
RMES trains for a minimum of 3 hours once a week for 50 weeks out of the year (taking time off for Christmas).
RMES does various standby responses each year for events such as the Childrens’ Burn Camp, the Our Lady Queen of Peace Ranch childrens’ Christmas party, and the Banded Peak Challenge.
RMES has at least two Red Seal chefs in its membership.
Between 1993 and 2009, RMES built its own fire trucks, saving the townsite a significant amount of money. Some trucks were refurbished units from other cities, while others were built from non-fire truck equipment such as utility vehicles, garbage trucks, and bulk oil transports. The finished vehicles were certified by professional emergency vehicle mechanics before being pressed into service.