Telkwa Fire is looking to upgrade some of its equipment and will be applying for a grant to pay for it.
At the June 23 regular council meeting, Fire Chief Laurence Turney made a report to council about applying for rescue extrication tools from TC Energy’s Coastal GasLink Project Community Grant Program.
“We are asking for a total of $60,000 and it will purchase us about eight pieces of equipment, mostly the cutting tools, ram and a spreading tool. All of these are relatively new, refurbished materials,” Turney explained.
Telkwa Fire Rescue provides road rescue and medical response services within the village boundaries and a portion of Regional District Area A.
On Highway 16, Smithers Fire Rescue provides vehicle extraction and Telkwa Fire supplies medical aid. In other areas off the highway, Telkwa Fire provides both. Telkwa’s current hydraulic tools are at least 15 years old.
Turney said they are still operable but are heavy and do not have sufficient cutting or spreading power to operate effectively on newer vehicles.
He added that newer generation, battery-powered hydraulic extraction tools are reliable, lighter and have more power than their current tools.
“There has been a noticeable increase in truck traffic on the highways and a noticeable increase in the number of motor vehicle incidents,” he told councillors.
In his report, he wrote there were 11 calls in 2017, 24 in 2018 and 18 in 2019.
“Our tools don’t cut through some of the titanium stuff and getting off doors,” he added. “It is a good opportunity, it will buy us the equipment in one year and there’s money in there for training.”
All of council was in favour of applying for the grant and utilizing the village’s grant writer.
“It’s good to see Coastal GasLink is recognizing the impacts the increase in activity is having in the area and is setting aside some money for small communities to deal with that,” said Coun. Rick Fuerst.
TC Energy has several programs for providing grants and investments in the communities along the pipeline route. So far their safety program has provided grants to support First Responders, emergency preparedness, and safety education. Fire Departments in Fraser Lake, Kitimat and Burns Lake and local search and rescue societies have already received grants for the purchase of equipment and training through this program.