The Kisbey Volunteer Fire Department had an opportunity to use a building in the southwest of town for practice. Brody Singleton owner of the lot, who wanted the building demolished, offered it to the Volunteer Fire Department.
There are just over 20 volunteers, all of which were not able to make it, but with over half they burned down the building in a series of fires to get new members comfortable in responding to house calls.
Before setting out to burn down the house, the RCMP and fire dispatch were notified of the controlled burn. It was set three times for practice routines, the fourth being the controlled burn which saw the house completely destroyed. A small crowd came out to see what was going on and watch the volunteers go through their training.
This area is mainly affected by prairie grass or crop fires. They responded on March 17, to the first fire of the year, which was a grass fire. The Kisbey Volunteer Fire Department has the ability to respond to vehicle accidents, as well as structural fires, which means hands-on learning of this nature is extremely important. The opportunity to burn this small one story house was therefore taken, so volunteers could experience something a little different than the usual grassfires.
“It was kind of scary because you have to get right in there, but it was really good.” Amy Cobb, the youngest volunteer, stated after having used the hose to put out one of the three practice fires.
When responding to a call the fire truck and water truck go out. If more water is needed while fighting fires Cliff Nankivell Trucking pulls trucks off the oil patch to help the fire department out.
To run the fire truck they need at least four people, but always like to respond to a call with more. The fire truck was found online two years ago. Three of the volunteers flew to Michigan and drove it home. The 1985 truck was a big step up from their old truck of the 60s. Fire trucks usually don’t have many miles on them, so this was an important buy for them. Most of their equipment is in fact from the 60s and they are hoping to update everything.
“Safety of the members of the team is extremely important; it all comes down to safety in the end.” Rob Cobb, Fire Chief, emphasized. The updated equipment would mean better safety for all of his volunteers, which include his wife and daughter. The Volunteer Fire Department is therefore looking for donations to help them achieve this.
In addition to donations that can be made to help upgrade their equipment they will be holding fundraisers throughout the summer months if everything goes as planned. They’re hoping to hold a few pancake breakfasts, a barbeque, and a silent auction to raise the funds needed to keep the volunteers safe. Ultimately a donation to keeping them safe and updating their equipment makes a safer area around Kisbey where their calls come in from.
Another plan to get people involved is to bring out the old fire truck. The 60s model will be out for a day so the community can try out being on the truck. Their hope is to garner more volunteers through getting one interested with firsthand knowledge of using the equipment.
They are always looking for new volunteers and if you would like to join contact Rob Cobb or the town of Kisbey. Volunteers must be 17 in order to fight fires, but may participate in training before that. Not only do volunteers help their community, but they are rewarded with a Federal Non-Refundable Tax Credit of $3,000 if they put in 200 hours. This includes being on call, training, meetings, and actually fighting fires.
Also, hoping to set up a webpage and Facebook page for Kisbey Fire Services, they intend to make information about joining and the fundraising events they will be hosting more accessible to those in the area.