By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
Calls for the Picture Butte Emergency services broke another record for the fifth year in a row.
According to the PBES 2021 Annual Report, the emergency service saw a 42 per cent increase in call volume, and for the first time in the department’s history, calls exceed 1,000.
The report, presented at the Feb. 28 Picture Butte town council meeting by fire Chief Frank West, covered highlights of the 2021 calendar year. West said that while the year 2021 was done, “the work hasn’t ended there, and this year is just continuing on with an even higher pace”.
Calls the department attended include 16 motor vehicle collisions, 11 structure fires, 26 wildland/outdoor fires, five vehicle fires, five technical rescues and 23 tender responses. When asked what a tender response was, West explained it referred to the water tender unit in their fleet, when it had to go out to another fire department’s scene.
“(The water tender’s) job is solely just to haul water to fire scenes in Lethbridge County,” said West, noting it was one of two units in the region. “Any fire, anywhere in Lethbridge County that’s significant enough to need extra water, that tender goes along.”
Some of the highlights from the report include:
In September 2021, the department received their new frontline fire engine. The delivery marked the end of the 18-month capital project with funding split evenly between the Town of Picture Butte and Lethbridge County. Engine 31 will serve Picture Butte and Lethbridge County as the frontline fire engine.
The department’s command unit was replaced with a 2018 GMC Sierra, with the old command unit redesignated as Utility 3 for support on emergency scenes and logistics support for the department.
The department responded to 1,030 calls this year. A total of 833 calls were ambulance calls, 178 for fire medical response, 102 for fires and alarms, and 29 for HazMat and Rescue. In addition to communities and town in Lethbridge County, the department also responded to calls in Vulcan County, M.D. of Willow Creek and the M.D. of Taber.
The department’s firefighters and paramedics spent more than 2,500 hours collectively training in throughout 2021. This included certifying 11 firefighters to the NFPA 1051 Wildland Firefighter 1 standard, five firefighters to the NFPA 1006 Technical Rescue Awareness standard and three firefighters completed training to enter the EMS division.
The report can be viewed online at http://www.picturebutte.ca/docs/files/
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