by Jessica Jones
For the Pipestone Flyer
The Millet Fire Department, north of Wetaskiwin, was able to add two pieces of firefighting equipment this past year in order to help them effectively and safety respond to fires and incidents.
Millet Fire Department Chief Steve Moen says the department was able to secure a command vehicle, as well as an ATV side by side, putting the volunteer department in line with neighbouring fire departments.
“We are catching up to them,” Moen said, who heads up a 28-member department.
The command vehicle, he says, is a pick-up truck outfitted with a computer and area for hauling firefighting materials, such as hoses, breathing packs and other equipment, which allows crews to have a quicker response to a scene.
Prior to the department securing the command vehicle, the materials were being stored in the firetruck, making things “unsafe” for the firefighters, Moen said.
“Now we can transport that material safely.”
The addition of a side by side, while it hasn’t been used quite yet, will also help the Millet Fire Department effectively attend scenes in off-terrain and hard-to-reach areas, much like the large grass blaze that took out a barn and six vehicles on the west end of Millet last year.
“This year with the dryness in the spring we expected a busy spring grass fire season but that didn’t happen so its been a relatively quiet year,” Moen said.
The fire chief explained that the side by side, costing $55,000, which joined their equipment ranks last month, was “100 per cent funded by donations from the local community.” The effort of fundraising and purchasing of the ATV was spearheaded by the Millet Veteran Firefighter’s Association, whom saw the need for off-road firefighting.
The Millet Fire Department changed its year-end reporting, but from December 31, 2018 to January 1, 2019, crews responded to 80 calls, 24 of which being motor vehicle collisions, 14 outside fires, 10 alarms calls, 10 medical calls, and the remainder being miscellaneous, non-serious calls.
The department is always focused on continual training, explained Moen, and are happy to have a training officer who is qualified to facilitate training on the department.
The Millet Fire Department, located in town at 5138 45 Avenue, also has a training facility made out of sea cans on an open property on the southwest corner of Millet where they practice live fire attacks and vehicle extractions with donated cars from the community. They practice here, Moen says, every first and third Wednesday of the month.