Fire Prevention Week is taking place October 7th to 13th and this year’s theme is Look, Listen & Learn: Look for possible hazards in your home and places that fires can start; Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm and ensure they are in proper working condition; Learn two ways out of each room that are easy access and clutter free. Each year, there is a different focus for Fire Prevention Week, working to help people learn more about how to ensure their homes are safe and that they are educated on what they can do to help prevent a fire in their home, and in the event a fire breaks out, how to ensure their families escape safely. “Being prepared is the main thing. It is better to take the steps to prevent a fire than to have us called to come and fight a fire. It is a better way of going about it if we can educate and make people aware of the different things they can do to ensure the hazards in their home are down and the less likelihood of having a situation at home, then all the better,” MFD Fire Chief Kurtis Dyck stated.
The Martensville Fire Department (MFD) will be hosting an Open House on October 10th from 5pm-7pm where they will be providing burgers and hot dogs, showcasing their trucks and equipment and providing two interactive demonstrations for the public. In honour of Fire Prevention Week, the MFD will be doing one demonstration on the proper usage of fire extinguishers. “People don’t use fire extinguishers unless they are in an emergency situation and many people don’t know the proper use for them. They are a cheap investment to have in your house and a good investment because you can quickly knock something down before it turns into something bigger,” MFD Deputy Chief Dean Brooman explained. With fire extinguishers, one thing the MFD wants people to be aware of, is that they require annual inspection, and they recommend that people check them monthly to ensure the levels are where they should be.
The second demonstration will be on airbags in vehicles, which although is not necessarily about fire prevention week, it is something that the MFD deals with regularly when responding to motor vehicle accidents. “We want to showcase what it is like when airbags go off so people have a better understanding of them. Virtually everyone can nowadays have airbags in their vehicles, so it is good for people to see how they work and what to expect in case of an accident,” Brooman added.
Additionally, the MFD is adding something new this year to get kids involved in Fire Prevention Week. In partnership with the Martensville Library, kids can enter a contest with the winner receiving two pizzas hand delivered by the local fire department. Sheets are available at the library that children can bring home and design a home escape plan for their families in emergency situations. Once complete, forms can be dropped back off at the library and one lucky winner will be announced on October 10th. “We hope the kids like it and we hope we get a good response. We will take the truck out, show up and they can show us their plan, and then we will hand over a couple of pizzas,” Brooman said. Entries are due by October 10th.
The work that the fire department does within this community extends far beyond the title of fire department, as they provide care in a wide range of situations from fires, medical emergencies, water rescue, ice rescue, motor vehicle accidents, mutual aid support for other departments in the area and much more. Each member of the fire department undergoes extensive training in numerous areas in order to serve the community better. Each Wednesday night members meet for training to ensure all of their skills are perfectly honed in case of emergency. Training nights can at times put members in “real-life” situations; such as the recent demonstration done at Richardson’s Milling where members rescued an “injured” person from the top of the structure.
All of the service and care provided by the MFD does not go unnoticed, as they are appreciated by residents of Martensville and surrounding areas, visitors to the area, family members and more. “We greatly appreciate the work that they do. Lots of them sign up not only to help the community, but to better themselves as well, but we have to remember to be really grateful for what they do because they are often going into situations that are very stressful, very trying, often medical emergencies or accidents. They are called the fire department, but they do so much more and they are volunteering, which takes time away from their own families in order to be there for our community,” Mayor Kent Muench said. “On top of everything else, their community involvement is amazing. When people call them, the response they receive is anything but a volunteer level, it is professional, supportive and very helpful. As a community, we should be very thankful that they are here.”
Local resident Donna Pawluk experienced firsthand just how the local fire department steps up for their community. When the smoke detectors in her home began beeping, she immediately thought to change the batteries, however only one required batteries, and the others were hard wired into the home. The beeping continued, and Pawluk thought that she would call the fire department for some advice on what the issue could be. During the phone call, the member on duty not only provided advice, but asked Pawluk for her address so he could come by and check the detectors. “He came to the house and looked over all of the detectors. He showed me that the one in my basement was expired and explained what kind it was, and where to go to get a replacement. He was very helpful, had a great demeanour and told me that I did the right thing by calling,” Pawluk explained. Not being aware to check for expiry dates, Pawluk was grateful that the time was taken to go over details with her and that despite being embarrassed about having a member of the fire department come to her house for such a “small issue” in her mind, he put her mind at ease. “He told me that he would rather come and help with this rather than come in the event of a fire. I learned a lot from the visit, things I didn’t know before and I felt really good after he left.”
Each member truly believes in serving their community, not just in emergency situations, but also for community events, local organizations, schools and more. “We try to help the community out as much as possible and we try to make ourselves as visible as possible within reason in the community without stretching our members too far,” Brooman explained. It is not uncommon to see members of the MFD working at pancake breakfasts and BBQ’s at the local schools, tossing candy from the firetrucks during the annual Buster Days parade, organizing and distributing food hampers to local families at Christmas time, and at other local events. This year, the MFD hosted the FireFit Challenge, which took place the same weekend as Buster Days and brought a large amount of visitors to the area as participants and spectators. Operations for the Martensville Fire Department are funded through the City of Martensville and through minor fundraising, the department uses additional funding to put towards education and occasional equipment purchases. “We are well supported by the City. We have great equipment and the City has been extremely supportive of us,” MFD Fire Chief Kurtis Dyck said. Currently, the MFD consists of 31 members, and has responded to approximately 250 calls this year.
Be sure to stop in at the Martensville Fire Hall on October 10th for the Fire Prevention Week Open House and take a moment to thank our members for all of the hard work that they do for this community. Many of us have been impacted directly by the care provided by these dedicated individuals who help people through some of the worst moments of their life. Their kindness, compassion and professionalism are second to none and Martensville is lucky to have them.