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Millet Fire Department sees increase in grass and brush fires this year

Fire prevention week is Oct. 4, 2020 to Oct. 10, 2020.
Millet Fire Rescue 2019: Fire Chief Stephen Moen, Deputy Fire Chief Ronald Brown, Fire Marshal David Monahan, Captain Brett Jevne, Captain Gregory Pyle, Lieutenant Kyle McNichol, Lieutenant Matthew Baynes, Captain Trevor Palmer, Captain Derek Day, Firefighter Adam Walters, Firefighter Dale Hofstra, Firefighter Jason Seeney, Firefighter Brayden Sinclair-Smith, Firefighter Todd Vogelesang, Firefighter Emily Rumak,Firefighter Jason Jaffray, Firefighter Greg Wiancko, Firefighter Ken van Diemen, Firefighter Tessa Farn, Firefighter Gavin Franson, Firefighter Luke Jevne, Firefighter Garrett Rempel, Firefighter Tim Bruun, Firefighter Mark Bruun, Firefighter Ken Atkinson, Firefighter Cody Lever, Firefighter Ear Mardy. Millet Fire department always recognizes Fire Chief (retired) Al Kilborn. Photo/ Stu Salkeld.

The Millet Fire Department (MFD) has been kept on their toes consistently this year. Last year they had a total of 117 calls to service, this year they already have had 105 calls to service and their busy season is rapidly approaching.

Capt. Trevor Palmer says that traffic incidents, alarms and fires are the take up the main portion of the calls the department receives.

“We are coming into what is our traditional busier season,” says Palmer.

Palmer predicts that there will be an increase of traffic accidents they attend, especially on Highway QE2 with the new cable barriers along the road when the ice and snow return.

“In the past if a vehicle was going to hit the ditch—spins, goes down into the median, waits for a tow truck, and for the most part nothing happens,” Palmer says. “Now they are going to spin, they are going to hit that cable barrier and they are going to spin back into traffic.”

“We think we are going to be very busy.”

Palmer has been with the department for 15 years and based on their predictions on the calls to service they will still receive this year, he says it will be a record number.

Palmer says that this year the department also responded to 19 to 20 grassfires.

Amidst a busy year, the department has also had to shift operations to be mindful of COVID-19. From sanitizing all their equipment and the hall consistently, to wearing face masks regularly—even when in the truck with each other. The department has also made an effort to minimize the amount of time spent together and time spent at the hall.

Palmer also says that it has been difficult with specific calls such as traffic accidents, when helping pull someone from their vehicle, it is also hard to focus on making sure your mask doesn’t slip. Or when responding to a call and the person in the home doesn’t hear very well but can’t read the lips of the firefighters responding because they have on masks.

“The sooner we can get through this pandemic, the happier and better we are all going to be.”

Palmer says that the MFD also responds to quite a few house alarm calls—especially for kitchen fires. Palmer urges everyone to have a proper fire extinguisher (there are small ones that can be put under your sink) in your home and to know how to use it. Having one on hand could be the difference between putting the fire out, or having the fire take over your home.

Palmer says, “If there is a fire in your kitchen, generally speaking, don’t put water on that kitchen fire, use a fire extinguisher.” If you put water on a grease fire it will not put out the fire and can make it much worse.

“If the fire cannot be controlled immediately, get out and call 911,” Palmer advises. “You can replace your house, you can replace your kitchen, you can replace whatever; you cannot replace yourself.”

MFD continues to tirelessly work to make their community safer. Recently, on September 29, 2020 they fought a large barn fire for around 15 hours to ensure that every last spark and hot spot was extinguished.