Firefighters: First to arrive, last to leave the scene


By Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

When Fire Chief Ted Dillon started here in 1989 firefighters were lucky to receive 60 emergency calls in a year. Now the Ponoka Fire Department (PFD) is looking at upwards of 200.

Man-hours are up as well, these are the amount of hours the PFD has worked and in 2010, 2,563 hours were used for emergency calls. They also had 1,712 practice hours. The PFD has two staff, Dillon and fire prevention co-ordinator Donna Noble. The rest are 25 volunteer firefighters who put other people’s safety at the forefront whenever they go out.

“I gotta hand it to them, when they respond to the call, family becomes secondary,” said Dillon.

Noble said preventative planning could be what saves a life in the event of a home fire. It is easy to get complacent but her experience proves otherwise.

“My husband called me up and told me there was an alarm going off in the house and it said carbon monoxide levels were at over 75 ppm, that is when I told him to leave the house.”

Atco Gas was able to find the problem but the message is clear: It can happen to anyone at any time.

Fire Prevention Week kicks off on Oct. 9, but Dillon said it should never be something people think about for one week. He invites the community to ask the fire department questions on safety and prevention. Sunrise Village recently held a fire drill and Dillon and Noble attended. Questions of what to do if there was a fire and if the weather was -40 degrees C outside arose and Dillon was there to answer questions of concerns.

“We’ll go and talk to small groups in order to make sure they understand what it is we do and what they should do,” said Dillon.

The PFD will host an open house on Oct. 14 from 7 to 9 p.m. and will take the time to share their experience with families on fire safety. Noble enjoys giving the younger kids the tools they need to help them in a fire emergency, such as showing them how to use the back of their hands, which is more sensitive to heat, to check if a door is hot.

Dillon said it is good for the whole family to come. “Dads who like big equipment can see the toys we have to have.”

The PFD has to make tough decisions in an emergency, and the safety of their firefighters is important. Their battle is with the fire and they hate to lose. So don’t be surprised if you see a flashing green siren in a car behind you, that is a member of the volunteer fire department heading to meet danger and protect the community.

Just Posted

PHOTO: Calnash roof underway

Work has begun on the covered connection between the barn and main arena

Motorcyclist airlifted by STARS after collision

Incident under investigation by Ponoka RCMP

Swimming, biking and running to victory

PSC student complete triathlon race

“Visions of the West” Art Show and Sale

Dates and times for the art show and sale

Police searching for fleeing suspects

Ponoka RCMP looking into incidents involving two stolen pickup trucks

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

Alberta Mountie found not guilty of dangerous driving causing pedestrian’s death

RCMP Const. Michelle Phillips also found not guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm

Three Albertans land ‘monster’ sturgeon in B.C.’s Fraser River

For angler who landed the exceptionally large sturgeon it was an ‘incredible dream come true’

Toronto Raptors and their diverse team celebrated worldwide

Team is made up of players from the U.S., Canada, Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, and Spain

Further murder charge laid after alleged targeted hits in two Alberta cities

Jimmy Truong, who is 27, has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of Louie Angelo Mojica

Stettler County denial of Paradise Shores permit upheld by SDAB

Developers refusal to provide needed information among reasons behind appeal decision

Pot edibles, topicals and extracts to hit shelves no earlier than mid-December: Ottawa

Health Canada wrapped its public consultation on the draft rules for cannabis products in February

We the North: Delirious fans celebrate as Raptors win NBA title

Supporters from all over Canada cheer Toronto’s triumph

Most Read