As wildfires continue to rage across the north, members of the Airdrie Fire Department (AFD) have been asked to provide their skills and knowledge to help.
With the Northwest Territories experiencing a total of 241 active wildfires, Firefighter Brad Larway, Fire Chief Mike Pirie, and Emergency Management Lead Lorri Laface, have been asked to assist in combating the fires. Being part of Canada Task Force 2, the three members of the Airdrie Fire department have specific skill sets that are deemed beneficial to the cause.
“These men and women have varied backgrounds,” said AFD Deputy Chief Garth Rabel. “When they come together in the command centres, they bring all their expertise and all their knowledge together to support the logistics, the action, and the work in the field.”
Rabel confirmed the members from Airdrie will be working in the Emergency Command Centre (ECC), and not directly in the field. He said they still brought personal protective equipment with them in case of needed site visits. He said their focus is supporting those out in the field.
According to the Canada Task Force 2 website, the team is made up of 150 members with a variety of backgrounds. These include doctors, paramedics, structural engineers, communications specialists, canine and technical searchers, logistic specialists, and command staff.
The task force is one of six recognized Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams located throughout the country and is a division of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency. The mandate of the task force is to send 75 members and required equipment within four hours of an alerted incident.
Rabel said they are proud to have members of the Airdrie Fire Department provide their expertise to help those in need. He added they applaud their work and show full support as they look to help others.
“I think it's amazing,” Rabel said. “Anytime any of our proud members can use their experience, their expertise, their knowledge and their passion to support their neighbours, their communities, or province in their country, it makes us extremely proud.”
Rabel hopes residents of Airdrie recognize their fire department to be a caring group of fire services members who support other communities. He noted the importance of gaining knowledge and skills in situations, and applying them within the city.
“That expertise that they share now is here at home to take care of our own community and take care of our residents,” Rabel said. “If something were to occur, we've got some extremely talented people that can bring us together.”
Rabel confirmed the members assisting up north will be on a seven-day rotation cycle.
He added those looking for more information about the wildfire should trust reputable news sources and make sure any donations are going to reputable and legitimate organizations.
“Thank you so much for supporting folks in need at this difficult time,” he said. “But make sure that your money is going through proper channels.”