By: Korie Marshall

The Valemount Volunteer Fire Department will receive $8,000 and the McBride District Volunteer Fire Department will receive $6,000 for equipment to increase public safety. Shirley Bond, MLA for Prince George-Valemount was in Valemount and McBride on Wednesday to announce the funding from the provincial government.

The Valemount Department will receive $2,000 towards turnout gear to protect firefighters from extreme temperatures and $6,000 towards pyrometers, a temperature monitoring system. Chief Rick Lalonde says the pyrometers will provide real-time temperature monitoring while conducting live fire training.

“This is a key piece of equipment needed in order to ensure the safety of the firefighter, as well as the equipment,” says Chief Lalonde.

The McBride Department will use their $6,000 for a portable gas detection meter.

“This equipment will greatly enhance the public safety of all residents throughout the Robson Valley by allowing us to detect and quantify dangerous gases,” said McBride Fire Chief David Hruby. Chief Hruby says the old one was scrapped some time ago because it was expensive and unreliable. Since then, someone had to come from Prince George to do any gas detection work. The recent ammonia leak at the Robson Valley Recreation Centre was a reminder that scary stuff can happen even in the tiniest of towns, especially with a highway and train track nearby which could be transporting dangerous chemicals.

“I am always impressed and grateful that men and women serve their communities as firefighters and provide highway rescue as well,” said Minister Bond. “In McBride and Valemount, we have over 50 members that spend countless hours training and protecting the residents of the Robson Valley as well as travelers who use the surrounding highway network. Having appropriate equipment is a nessential part of being able to serve and protect, and I am pleased to be able to provide grants to both the McBride and Valemount volunteer fire departments. I want to thank Chief Lalonde and Chief Hruby for working with me to identify some of the specific equipment needs and for the dedication they have to their crews and communities. Thank you to all the hardworking volunteers who respond in times of need, you are appreciated.”