The Strathmore Fire Department (SFD) has been approved by the Town of Strathmore to purchase some greatly needed water rescue equipment, following a presentation to town council on July 20.
Council has approved the purchase of the equipment through the Fire Department Capital Reserve, in the amount of $28,000.
In May 2022, the SFD implemented a new level of service policy, which was approved by council. As part of the new policy, the department’s Swift Water Rescue was removed, as it is not in their jurisdiction.
The equipment from the program was sold to Siksika Nation in the amount of $36,000, which was then put into the Fire Department Capital Reserve.
The new level of service policy specifically outlines the required purchase of new water rescue equipment so that SFD members outfitted appropriately and safely for when the need for a water rescue should occur.
SFD chief David Sturgeon outlined that a lot of emphasis was previously put on the swift water rescue program. The same attention now needs to be put back on addressing local water rescue efforts.
“A lot of emphasis was put on that swift water rescue program, and not enough for our internal rescue, which is surface water rescue and ice rescue for our lakes in town,” said Sturgeon.
The SFD is wanting to trade the motor currently equipped to their Zodiac boat for a new one, as well as to purchase eight survival suits.
“Our current survival suits are riddled with holes and things so when (rescuers) go in the cold water, we have some potential hypothermia issues for the rescuers,” said Sturgeon.
The team is also looking to acquire an appropriate trailer to get the boat onto local water bodies quickly and safely.
Sturgeon said with the fire department’s current setup, the team is unable to approach many water bodies to launch the boat quickly and effectively.
Through the prior sale of the swift water rescue equipment, the department is able to purchase the necessary equipment for local response without having an impact to regular town operational budgeting or expenses.
Sturgeon added that operational and rescue efforts by the SFD may be impacted if the equipment was not approved for purchase.
“A lot of (our lakes), we can’t drive right up to the lake, so we have to have a way of disconnecting (the boat) from the truck and getting it into the lake in a short amount of time to provide that rescue,” said Sturgeon.
Council unanimously approved the ask of $28,000 for the fire department’s new water rescue equipment.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times