La Ronge Regional Fire Department celebrates arrival of new rescue truck

Valerie G. Barnes Connell Jordan/Northern Advocate. La Ronge firefighters and friends completed the Push-In Ceremony to mark the new rescue truck is now in service.

The La Ronge Regional Fire Department held an Open House on Oct. 12, during Fire Prevention Week, to give the community an opportunity to visit the Fire Hall and catch up on the news. They had technology and equipment on display, a vehicle extrication, and hamburger supper.

Calls for service for the Fire Department increased to “about 212”, up from 190 in 2022, Fire Chief Keaton Cloud said.

Calls are not all fire, he explained. They include: bush fires, house fires, fire alarms, needle pickups, vehicle accidents, water rescues, “that kind of stuff,” he said in an interview with the Northern Advocate.

The membership in the Fire Department is good, he said, at about 25. They lost some members in 2022 and are seeking to bring the numbers up to 30, so there was a Recruitment Booth set up during the event and a couple of applications were received right off the hop.

Firefighters spent some time in local schools during the week doing fire safety education and distributing related information.

The big news – a new Rescue Truck, was expected. It arrived Oct. 25.

Valerie G. Barnes Connell Jordan/Northern Advocate
Fire Chief Keaton Cloud demonstrates some of the new equipment purchased for the new rescue truck.

The truck will replace the old one that has been in service for approximately 20-25 years.

“We’ve kind of outgrown that,” Cloud said.

After the receipt of the new truck, some orientations, training and placement of new equipment purchased for it, the Fire Department will host a Pancake Breakfast to share the news with the community.

A Pancake Breakfast was held Sun. Nov. 4 with a fair number of community members gathering to explore the new truck, purchased at a cost of $532,000, which is expected to be in service for the next 25 years.

This is the first piece of major equipment purchased for the Fire Department since 2016, Cloud said.

The truck is fitted with equipment purchased with an $80,000 gift from Cameco last year.

A rescue truck has a different role in the Fire Department fleet. “It doesn’t have a fire pump or water on it. Its purpose is for all our vehicle accidents. It’ll do water rescue, road rescues. It will be support for structure fires.”

It also has a cascade system, which means firefighters will be able to fill their air pack bottles on the scene. Previously they had to come back to the fire station to refill.

“[That’s] a huge improvement. It’ll save us having to make all these trips. We can do everything on the scene.”

And there is a large light tower on the truck, which will be a big benefit in whatever situation it’s needed.

It also has an awning, which will help keep firefighters sheltered in rain or summer heat.

“Let’s say if it’s +30, it’s nice to get out of the sun; and we’ll have fans too.”

There have been some changes to the Fire Department’s service area. They have 1,200 kilometres of provincial highway for road accidents.

“We go as far south as Halfway House. We cover roads between 165 East and 165 West and all the small roads in there. We go north of the north roads,” Cloud said.

They go west to Hall Lake for road accidents, but not for fire, as the community has their own fire truck. They don’t go as far as Beauval now, as they have their own extrication tools now.

For fire They go between Rabbit Creek, south; and Wadin Bay, north and all the hamlets in between. They will go to Sucker River if needed.

They do water rescue, but mostly on Lac La Ronge. If it’s farther way they call the Rangers or RCMP.

That’s because they “really don’t have the capability yet. We just have a small dingy and it’s not really suitable.”

They also cover the La Ronge Airport. They have training, but if an incident happens farther north they turn it over to helicopter companies.

They have had water rescue operations, two the last summer with one fatality, Cloud said.

The Pancake Breakfast ended with a Push-In ceremony.

Firefighters gathered outside the door of the Fire Hall where the Rescue truck will have its permanent home. The truck is outside the door and it is pushed in to place by the firefighters, and maybe a few more, to signify, it’s part of the resources and at work.