There’s an estimated 3,460 fire departments in Canada, 85% of these are staffed by volunteer firefighters. As a volunteer-driven organization, Redwood Meadows Emergency Services (RMES) responded to 280 calls in 2019; 51% were medical and 13% were fire-related.
Every year, Canadian firefighters are injured or killed in the line of duty. This month, we’re giving some tips to protect your volunteer firefighters as we do our work.
SLOW DOWN. AND THEN SLOW DOWN SOME MORE: One of the most dangerous part of our job is doing traffic management at car accidents. When you see emergency vehicles on the highway, slow down well in advance. The slower the better when we have team members on slippery highways and focused on quickly grabbing equipment from trucks! Follow the directions of the first responders. Don’t stop to take pictures (we aren't that good looking!). Focus on your own safe driving. Resume speed only when you are well clear. Treat every firefighter you see working on the highway as a family member, neighbour or friend – because we are all of these to someone in the community.
MOVE OUT OF THE WAY – IT’S THE LAW: When you see the big red trucks heading to someone else’s emergency with lights flashing, pull over to the right side of the road and STOP, until the emergency vehicle passes. Once the truck passes, check your mirrors to ensure more emergency vehicles aren’t following before resuming speed.
KEEP YOUR DRIVEWAYS AND PATHS CLEARED OF SNOW AND ICE: Sliding is fun on sleds and skates in the winter, but not down snowy driveways in firetrucks or while carrying emergency gear. If you know of a neighbor with mobility issues, be a snow angel and help them keep their paths clear of snow and ice.
On behalf of the firefighters and officers of Redwood Meadows Emergency Services, it was an honour and privilege to serve our community and protect our neighbours in 2019. Best wishes for a safe and happy new year!