By Laura Keil, Publisher/Editor

I was invited to the fire hall last week to take photos of the students at Valemount Elementary who won a tour of the fire hall through the Fire Prevention Week contest. The kids were ecstatic to climb into the fire trucks, see the shiny consoles and illuminated panels, and push around the bike park rescue stretcher.

It’s not my first time being in the fire hall, but it really struck me this time just how amazing it is that we have millions of dollars worth of equipment and a whole team of volunteers from the community who pledge their free time to assist those in trouble. I felt incredibly grateful that these community members step up to serve their community in multiple ways – fighting fires, rescuing motorists on the highway, and extracting patients from the bike park to name a few.

It takes a lot of time and training to keep a fire department going. Fire Chief Rick Lalonde noted that every crew member must have the ability to drive the trucks, because when a call comes in at 2 a.m. they never know who is going to show up – everyone must be prepared.

The fire department is also passionate about fire safety, which is one of the reasons they partner with the school to promote smoke detectors and fire escape plans.

I want to give a huge kudos to our local departments and the people who dedicate their time to this important service. Thanks to you, our community is that much safer.