The Sylvan Lake Fire Department is gearing up for Fire Prevention Week which takes place throughout the country from October 9-15.
This year’s Fire Prevention Week is the first the local department has spent in their new facility in Beacon Hill located adjacent to the RCMP and Municipal Enforcement Services building.
The new fire department officially opened on June 13, 2016 and has come to play an integral role in fire prevention for the community of Sylvan Lake.
“We’ve had some schools through for Fire Prevention Week and it’s been great for them to see the new facility,” said Sylvan Lake Fire Chief Cliff Braussen “It gets the kids oriented with the fire department and overall having the kids in the hall helps students to feel more comfortable around the fire fighters and that’s a big benefit to everyone.”
Perhaps the biggest benefit of the Fire Hall for the department has come in the form of training. In the previous fire hall, located on 47 Avenue in Sylvan Lake, only ten members of the department were able to train together at once. The new fire hall sees all thirty members training together as a department.
“It’s been great. We train as a department now. Our training room is much larger than it was before and it allows us the opportunity to have all 30 members go in and train as a group,” said Chief Braussen. “We’ve got a course running next week on the evenings and weekends so the new training room allows us ample space to layout equipment and training tools in the new hall.”
“We always travel in packs. We never go anywhere alone, we go in a group. So instead of training 10 people at a time we can have everyone training together and on the same page – it’s been a big benefit to the membership.”
Mayor Sean McIntyre, who opened the building by cutting a fire hose with the jaws of life, felt that this is a huge step for the community of Sylvan Lake.
“Our fire department had outgrown our old facility and they were really in need of something new that would allow them to help the community, not only now but in the future,”said McIntyre during the opening ceremony of the fire hall in June.
In addition to students and staff enjoying the new fire hall, Chief Braussen added the facility has seen a number of visitors from both the community of Sylvan Lake as well as surrounding area.
“We’ve had lots of visitors. Everyone seems to love the new building,” said Braussen. “I think the biggest benefit is really just more space. We’ve got new equipment coming and a new aerial ladder truck later this year. So we will have room to put it inside and it will be a huge benefit to the community.”
As the force continues to grow over the coming years the new fire hall will play an instrumental role in the protection of the community. As the population grows so will the need for a larger membership.
“We’ve certainly had more interest from residents on joining the department since opening the new hall. I think the increased visibility has played a big role in that,” said Braussen. “I think it’s a beautiful facility. We’ve gotten nothing but compliments on the building. The membership, Deputy Scanland and myself all love it here. It’s a great facility and very exciting to be in our new home.”
“We’ve gotten feedback from other fire departments and had a few fire chiefs through who’ve all said to us what a beautiful facility it is and they are happy for us.”