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The new Engine is on the way!!!
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!
Morning all! Happy New Year and all the best to you for 2020.
Here’s a breakdown on what RMES did in 2019.
Your volunteers responded to 280 calls for service throughout the year. On average, that’s a call every 31 hours all year long. Responders get up from bed, watching TV, eating or preparing dinner, or, for many, working at their paying job to answer the call. They drop everything and jump into action every time the radio calls them.
Of those 280 calls, 139 of them (almost exactly 50% of the total calls) were for medical responses to aid both residents and visitors of our area (and the surrounding vicinity). This is why we maintain Primary Care Paramedics on our staff and ensure their training is kept up to date on everything from the current hot topics in pre-hospital care to the most mundane and ‘normal’ ailments or injuries we might come across.
The next most common type of call we attended was rescues, of which there were 72 (25% of total call volume). This includes everything from motor vehicle collisions to backcountry rescues to unlocking a car with a person (or animal) in distress inside.
Following that were actual fire responses, which numbered 37 (roughly 13%). Anything actually on fire (or a call type which could have led to a fire, i.e. alarm bells ringing) is in this category. 2019 was unusual in that there was little in the way of a dry season so we didn’t see as many outdoor fires as in past years. This doesn’t mean that it won’t come back with a vengeance, as is plainly obvious in other parts of the world right now. We’re going to continue our aggressive push for fire safety and prevention as all fire departments do.
The second-last category is hazmat (hazardous materials) responses, which counted for 6 calls or just over 2% of the total. Things like odors of natural gas or gasoline, or illness from carbon monoxide or other gases or products are included in this category.
Finally, there were 26 (9%) calls we just can’t categorize into one of the above groups. These are things such as special hazards calls (electrical problems, trees down on structures/power lines, etc), helping other agencies (assisting police with an incident, or sending our specialized gear to assist in another town or district), and general service calls (picking up debris on the road, etc).
All this was accomplished over the year by, as said at the top, an entirely volunteer team. We all have full-time jobs or careers in a broad spectrum, from retail to health care/public safety to corporate management. Between the abovementioned calls for service, the 48 3-hour training nights we commit to (all but 4 Tuesday nights of the entire year), and the standby shifts we staff every weekend of the year (and various holidays in between), your volunteers contributed a total of 13,105 hours of service in 2019. We thank our friends and family for supporting us through all the hard work and effort that’s been expended.
2020 is going to be exciting in Redwood Meadows for a number of reasons. As always, we’ll keep you abreast of everything through our social media channels and by other means. Stay tuned and have a safe year to come!