High Prairie records higher calls and false alarms

The High Prairie Volunteer Fire Department. Kneeling in the front row left-right, are Max Adams, Wade Rederburg, Phil MacKenzie, Lt. Luci Martinson, Kennedy Buchan, Steve Rotenburger, Austin Stout and Ronnie Tiffin. Standing in the middle row left-right, are Kyle Rosychuk, deputy chief Michael Caron, John Hesse, Capt. Dave Martinson, Capt. Brandon Letendre, Grant Halverson, Rebecca Franchuk, Aaron Klassen, Dan Mercer and fire chief Trevor Cisaroski. Standing in the back row left-right, are Jen Anderson, Edwina Ayles, Jenny Ehman and Jennifer Zallum. Missing in the photo are Chantelle Ayles, Emma Ayles, assistant chief Jason Cottingham, Kevin Dube, Darcy Foster, Zachary Hamelin, Jessie Nobert and Robbie Thompson.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

The High Prairie Volunteer Fire Department is keeping busy in 2019.

Fire chief Trevor Cisaroski says the crew has responded to more than 100 calls.

Those calls include a range from monitored alarms, motor vehicle collisions, wildland fires, structure fires, and general dispatched calls.

He is concerned with the alarming rate of one type of call.

“Most of the calls for the past year have been alarms,” Cisaroski says.

“This is due to the fact that more people are getting alarm systems installed in their houses.”

He urges residents to be careful with their home alarms.

“Although this makes safer homes, it has increased the demands of the volunteers’ time to respond to false alarms,” Cisaroski says.

Residents are reminded to take proper steps.

“If your alarm goes off in your house, please make sure you know your password and cancel the alarm right away before the company dispatches us,” Cisaroski says.

“This is a nuisance call and may take the crew away from a potential real need for help.”

He reminds people that the first dispatched false alarm incident in a year is free.

But after that, the Town of High Prairie charges a fee for subsequent false alarms.

Calls for carbon monoxide are another concern.

However, new equipment will help.

“Thanks to the High Prairie Victory Life Church for its donation, we can immediately evaluate the CO condition in your house,” Cisaroski says.

The fire chief is also concerned the number of motor vehicle collisions remains high.

“I am glad to say that there have been very few fatalities,” Cisaroski says. “People are wearing seat belts and they do save lives.

”Instead of flying out of the vehicle or being slammed into the windshield, you are held safely in the vehicle’s protective cage.”

Impaired driving and distracted driving are still main causes for collisions, he says.

“Let’s make it a goal to reduce that in our area,” Cisaroski says.

“Plan before a party and keep your attention on the road and forget about that text you just received.”

Structure incidences are down from last year.

“But we have had our share,” Cisaroski says.

“Although fires have happened in buildings, the fire department’s response controlled the situation quickly.

That was evident when fire at the old High Prairie Health Complex on Sept. 18 was contained to a small area.

“We have not lost any structures this year, but there has been structural and smoke damage to the building,” Cisaroski says.

He says smoke alarms are valuable.

“A working smoke alarm has allowed faster response to two of those calls,” Cisaorski says.

“The alarms alerted people and we were able to respond at the initial stages of the fire developing.”

Fires grow in intensity within two minutes of ignition.

The faster help arrives, the faster the situation can be controlled.

“Or response time averages to be about 5-8 minutes with trucks rolling out of the fire hall,” Cisaroski says.

Wildland fires were kept to a minimum.

The dry spring resulted in some tense days of fire concern.

“But with Mother Nature taking over, our wet summer took any worry away,” Cisaroski says.

“Although it made for a lousy summer, it was great to reduce the risk of wildfires.”

The High Prairie Fire Department battled a fire at the old High Prairie Health Complex on Sept. 18. The fire was quickly contained in a hallway in one of the wings of the building. Fire chief Trevor Cisaroski says damage is estimated at $250,000. Thick black smoke from the tar on the roof was seen for many kilometres around the site. Enilda and Grouard fire crews from Big Lakes County Fire Service assisted in the call. The building has been vacant since the new High Prairie Health Complex east of town opened in April 2017. Arson is suspected and High Prairie RCMP continues to investigate. Above, firefighters attack the fire from above on a ladder truck.

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