One could say the Thorsby District fire station was a hub of activity on May 17 at the Leduc County and Thorsby firefighters meet and greet, but that would not completely capture the positive, family-friendly experience guests enjoyed. The firefighters went all out, providing kids of all ages a chance to explore the fire trucks with glistening gadgetry, thrill at the two-storey climb up an inflatable fire truck slide, free servings of popcorn, hot dogs and pop, and a complimentary firefighter’s helmet from Sparky (a local 5-year firefighter who prefers to remain incognito). The open house was a great opportunity to talk with the dedicated local firefighters who are protecting the area, learn about Leduc County Fire Services and current volunteer opportunities.
Thorsby District Fire Chief, Rob Krueger, was busy manning the BBQ, but took a moment to report on the present Thorsby District volunteer firefighter recruitment status, “Right now, we have six firefighters from Leduc County-Nisku District, nine from Thorsby District, but we need five to ten more as we’d like to have a total of fifteen to twenty.”
With any firefighter unit, there comes a sense of family—a closely knit bond that comes from pulling together as a team. Already, you can see the new volunteers are building that bond of trust that will see them through exhausting battles with fires and memory-scorching accident scenes.
Scott Gumany has been a volunteer firefighter for two months and loves the experience. Several other new firefighters and he indicate they are receiving excellent training and experience as they contend with grass and structural fires and accident scenes. What is the most difficult part of the job? Gumany laughs, “Backing up the trailer!”
In March 2014, Leduc County assumed responsibility for administering fire services in the district following consultations between Leduc County and the Village of Thorsby. The Thorsby Fire District encompasses the Village of Thorsby and surrounding rural area. Leduc County Fire Chief Darrell Fleming sees the open house as a great opportunity to “let people know the fire department is still here. We are pleased to have the open house and show the trucks off. We are still recruiting and are going to be for a while.”
Yes, it takes time not only to recruit heroes, but to train them. All new recruits must complete a basic rookie course. After that, firefighters follow a typical monthly training schedule including Drill Nights for developing skill competencies and learning checks, and fire equipment and apparatus Maintenance Nights. There are also training nights for pump operators and officers.
So, the next time you step outside and catch that acrid scent of smoke in the air or when you pass a motor vehicle accident, it is good to remember who will be responding. When that wind-driven grassfire is headed towards your home, or when a trapped loved one needs Jaws of Life extrication, no caped crusader will be swooping in to save the day. It will be a local volunteer firefighter. A real hero. Please consider volunteering.