(Photo courtesy of Ponoka County Regional Fire Services)

(Photo courtesy of Ponoka County Regional Fire Services)

Ponoka County East District Fire Department’s calls in 2022

Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 9 to 15

Ponoka County Regional Fire Services East District Fire Department responds to an area from Township Road 450 (Hwy 611) to the north, Range Road 233 (Asker Road) to the east, Township Road 420 (Hwy 604 and Hwy 605) to the south and Range Road 10 (Fifth Meridian Road) to the west. A full time chief, Rob Johnson, oversees 25 members ranging in experience from 27 years to six months.

In 2021, East District saw an increase in call volumes to 344 from 315 in 2020. It’s anticipated 2022 will be a record year. Up to Sept. 30, the department responded to 292 calls, with 153 in the Town of Ponoka. The breakdown of the call types are:

– Fire (vehicle/structure), 15

-Grass/rubbish, 40

– Vehicle accidents, 85

– EMS assist, 37

– Public service, 16

– Alarm, no fire, 99

As in previous years, alarms have been the top of the responses by the department with motor vehicle accidents coming in second. Alarm calls have already exceeded the total responses for 2021 with motor vehicle accidents close to doing the same.

Most of the alarm calls have been connected to cooking incidents. Thankfully some of the homeowners understand their system and have stood fire down prior to units leaving the hall. However, others unfortunately do not totally understand their alarm system including in some cases how their panel actually works. Silencing or resetting the alarm panel will not cancel fire response. Alarm monitoring companies usually require voice contact to ensure it is a false alarm.

Alarms are a great asset to assist with early detection and possibly minimizing the impact should an incident occur. However, it is important homeowners know their alarm company’s phone number and update their contact information as necessary. If an alarm has been activated in your residence you can be assured you will be receiving a phone call. Please answer it – help us to help you. There is allowance to charge a fee for a false alarm under the current bylaws. Education is the preferred method, however, where multiple responses are received at the same location, it may be necessary.

The alarm calls take our volunteer firefighters away from family, work, and community events. Your assistance in minimizing these types of calls are greatly appreciated.

The fire department continues to be involved in the community: the Spray “Park” for the junior, high school and elementary schools’ final day prior to the summer break, community garden water tank fill, and fire presentations to the youth centre, library and day care to name a few.

In-house fire service training continues. Two lead instructors, Donna Noble and Stan Schultz, recently returned from Firefighter Elevator Rescue training. It’s another “tool in the toolbox” should it be required.

Reminder, open burn fire permits are required March 1 to Oct. 31 and are free from the Ponoka County website or the Ponoka County App. A fire permit is not required for the backyard fire pit when used for cooking or sitting around. Fireworks discharge permits are required year-round using the same form. A fire permit assists the fire department in understanding where a permitted burn may be taking place. At all times the individual conducting the burn must ensure the burn is being controlled at all times. Presently the fire conditions are dry and encourage residents to refrain from any unnecessary burning until we receive some moisture.

Ponoka County Fire Department

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