The Carseland Fire Department officially opened their new fire hall on May 14, with an open house and ceremony that the community was invited to.
“It is a dream come true … we have so much space now and the ability to train our people properly and it is so much safer for us to respond to calls,” said district chief Ryan Hauswirth. “We officially moved in at the end of November, but we didn’t officially open the hall until (now) because at the end of November, there is snow and everything so we figured for the community, this would be a nicer day.”
Hauswirth explained the project has been ongoing since 2012 as far as the department is concerned, and Wheatland County picked it up in 2015.
The Carseland Fire Department had originally intended to continue operating out of their previous firehall and to just add an extension onto the old building.
In the end, a new firehall was built instead and Hauswirth said it was a blank slate to which much of the infrastructure was migrated to from the previous hall.
“It was a long process. We moved into an empty building, so we had a lot of help from the Wheatland County support team, which came in and basically put all of the infrastructure in for us,” said Hauswirth.
The design of the new hall mimics that of the fire hall in Munson, with alterations to suit the needs of the department.
The Carseland Fire Department made use of an Alberta Infrastructure Grant as a significant contributing factor to “pulling the trigger” on the development of the new hall.
The team was originally supposed to be operating out the new hall at the end of August 2021, as opposed to the actual move-in date in November. A factor causing the delays moving in resulted from supply chain issues.
Alongside the new facility, the department now has a training ground, something they did not have at the previous building, a large vehicle-x area intended for training to tear apart cars and extricating patients, a drafting pond to train for drawing water from standing sources and a training room within the hall.
Hauswirth said the dispatch system has now been computerized and all trucks will soon be outfitted with WiFi and computers to be able to better communicate with each other without talking to dispatch.
Hauswirth added that the surrounding community contributed a significant amount to the development of the new facility over the course of the project.
“I was really impressed with Carseland, there are a lot of really good people here, really caring people who have fundraised a lot of their own money,” he said. “To have between $300,000 and $400,000 raised by a small community like this is phenomenal.”
The new facility is also equipped with a full bunker gear cleaner now which will save the department the costs and time of having to send their gear to Calgary for cleaning.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times