Community Stories

A thanks to our extended firefighting family

April 11, 2022

This weekend showed once again the benefits of great relationships with our neighbours. In a day of responding to five separate fires, our Red Deer Emergency Services crews were busy, to say the least, and were grateful for the support of our local municipal partners.

Saturday, April 9 was like most Spring days in Central Alberta; a little chilly, a lot windy, and generally dry conditions. For most of us, this just means we bundle up, but for fire fighters, these conditions tell you to gear up for a challenge, and that’s just what our Emergency Services crews did.

For local fire crews, the day brought a number of challenges, among them two fully-involved house fires.

For those of us not familiar with fire-fighter lingo, ‘fully-involved’ means the fire has taken over the structure, and that means we need to bring out the big guns to fight it.

Back to our story – with two fully-involved fires (feeling a bit smarter now, aren’t ya?), our Emergency Services crews called in for back up, and our mutual aid partners were quick to support.

One more – ‘mutual aid’ is what we call our agreement with local municipalities to support one another (ahem, provide mutual aid) in emergency response. Red Deer Emergency Services has mutual aid agreements with a number of local municipalities, including Red Deer County and Sylvan Lake. The intent of these agreements is to ensure we have someone to call on when we need a hand, and they’re very common for emergency response.

The first house fire was in Kentwood. Once the first truck arrived on scene, it was clear crews had a heavy task ahead. The home was engulfed in flames and windy conditions only added to the challenge, so a call went out to Red Deer’s five fire stations to bring more equipment to support response. Four additional engines came to the scene, two of which coming from another fire, while on-call staff were called in to provide back up coverage to the rest of the city.

In times like these, with all hands on deck, we put a call out to our mutual aid neighbours to let them know our resources are stretched thin, and we might need their help if something else comes up. That call went out to Red Deer County fire who were ready to support and respond in the city if needed.

A short time later, the call came in about a second house fire, this time in Deer Park. The on-call staff were ready to go and headed over straight away. This new fire posed all the same challenges – a fully-involved structure fire, dry conditions and a lot of wind. Knowing we would need more support, we called out to our mutual aid partners for help. Red Deer County fire was quick on the scene, and Sylvan Lake wasn’t far behind with a crew operating their aerial ladder truck to fight the fire from above.

With support from our local partners, crews managed to knock down both fires, and kept both from spreading to other structures. More importantly, there were no injuries at either fire.

A big thanks goes out to our partners at Red Deer County and Sylvan Lake Fire for their support on this windy day. We would also be remiss if we didn’t make mention of our incredible team at the Red Deer 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Centre, who too had a very busy day supporting the regional Departments we dispatch for, on top of the RDES structure fires.  While fire fighters are commonly referred to as first responders, dispatchers are considered the ‘first first responder,’ as they are truly the first point in any response!