By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
On May 6 the M.D. of Taber Fire Service responded to a call for help from the province.
“We received a call from the Provincial Operations Center asking if we could send a type 6 engine, which is a wildland truck, to the Drayton Valley area to assist with the wildfires,” Nathan Coté, Regional Fire Chief and Director of Emergency Management for the M.D. of Taber, stated. “We are very thankful to the Council of the MD of Taber for the support to allow us to respond to the call for mutual aid assistance.”
Coté stated that the M.D. of Taber Fire Service deployed a fire crew that included members from the six stations located within the MD of Taber. The first crew deployment, Coté says, was in the Drayton Valley area from May 9 to May 14. During this time, the M.D. of Taber Fire Service had one crew change before crews were re-deployed to Garden Creek from May 15 to May 18. Once finished, they began the lengthy trip home, eventually returning May 19.
“Since safety in our own region is our number one priority, we wanted to ensure our citizens and all fire districts within the M.D. of Taber had adequate coverage,” Coté said. “To achieve this, we shifted some of our apparatus around, and our remaining members made themselves available to respond to calls, ensuring no gaps were in our service coverage.”
Both deployments, Coté says, had the unique opportunity to work with departments from across the Province of Alberta, Canada, United States, and alongside Canadian military personnel.
Coté says that while the firefighters were deployed, they mainly worked with a Task Force performing structural protection, which involved working with sprinkler systems, pumps, and water supplies to protect structures, communities, and valuable property.
“The M.D. of Taber Regional Fire Service is very proud of our members who were able to answer the call and deploy far from home to assist with the wildfires,” Coté said. “They did a fantastic job, and we are certainly happy with everything they were able to do.”
The deployed firefighters, Coté says, also worked on extinguishing spot fires and overhauling hot spots while responding to all sorts of events within and around the communities they were helping to protect.
“Our volunteer firefighters, day in and day out, have shown their gracious willingness to serve and keep the public safe to the best of their abilities,” Coté said. “We are very proud of our firefighters for the generous contributions when it comes to keeping the public safe.”
Coté also emphasizes that the M.D. of Taber is also thankful for those for who remained at home because without them stepping up to ensure there were no gaps in service coverage, the M.D. of Taber Fire Service would not have been able to send anyone to assist with the fires in the Drayton Valley area.