The County of Grande Prairie approved $57,000 to support the Hythe fire station last Monday.
The funds will go toward new and replacement personal protective equipment (PPE), along with additional equipment like hoses, medical supplies, and specialized ice rescue tools, said the county in a news release.
After the Village of Hythe’s dissolution in July, the county incorporated the Hythe Fire Department as a station within County Regional Fire Service.
“The uniqueness of this circumstance and the fact that we've inherited a brand new fire station to us has created a bit of a workload as far as making sure that that transition was seamless and we've been very successful because the members in Hythe are as they are in all our stations very highly dedicated,” said Dan Verdun, county fire chief.
“Some of our first mandates were to go in and ensure that everything they (Hythe fire station) needed to do their job was effectively in place, and after we went through their equipment, their protective gear, the fire station itself, this is the prioritized list of items that we found that were either shortfalls or close to being at their expiry dates.”
He noted that though the Hythe Fire Department was in order, these efforts were focused on equipping it similarly to other stations in the county.
“Some of the PPE is a replacement of bunker gear, that's the protective gear that they actually wear to go inside structures. Things like SCBA mask for respiratory control, incidentals, helmets, gloves, boots,” said Verdun.
Other equipment looked at was on the trucks themselves including water appliances, hoses and nozzles to ensure that the Hythe station vehicles were compatible with the rest of the county.
Verdun said all the county stations need to have the same resources so that they can work well together.
“Our objective is that all stations fight the same fire, they go to the same medical calls, they do the job the same way, and they have the same level of training, so they should have wherever possible the same level of equipment and PPE.”
Moving forward, more funds will be needed in Hythe for the fire station and are planned to be presented during the 2022 budget deliberations.
Verdun said that the remaining items are a priority but they are not “critical safety issues” and are more about consistency and compatibility.
“What we're trying to strive for is the equipment that they (Hythe) have is all interchangeable and consistent among all of those (county) stations,” said Verdun.
“Dedicating these funds to the fire station in Hythe is an investment in protecting the lives and livelihoods of our residents in the area," said Leanne Beaupre, county reeve.
“These are all measures that keep our people just a little bit safer in doing a very dangerous job,” said Verdun.
Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News