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The Town of High Level can now turn any pickup truck into a fire truck, thanks to a donation from Telus through a charity called GlobalMedic.
The Town of High Level Fire Department recently took possession of four “wildland skid units” – portable firefighting units with a 1,000-litre water tank, pump, and hoses. The self-contained units are light enough that they can be loaded into the back of a pickup truck if needed by four or five firefighters, instantly turning the vehicle into a makeshift firefighting apparatus.
The units will make it easier for firefighters to get water into places that would be difficult to reach with traditional firetrucks due to their size or weight.
“They are incredibly handy,” said Scott Smith, Deputy Fire Chief. “Two or three guys can pull them in and out of the back of a truck and you're ready to go.”
While High Level is the current home of these units, they are intended for use across the northwest. One of the units will see a permanent home with the Rainbow Lake Fire Department, and another is headed up to Hay River to assist with wildland firefighting efforts in that area. Two of the units will remain in High Level to be used regionally as the need arises.
Having the units available to neighbouring fire departments is one of the ways in which the Town of High Level supports partnerships with neighbouring communities to ensure fire safety across northern Alberta.
“Being up in the north, our neighbouring partners and agencies are the only help that we have,” said Smith. “So, the more that we can help out and support on all sides, the better off we all are.
“It just adds to the capability of being able to call for help when needed.
Rodney Schmidt, Director of Emergency Services and Fire Chief, said the units add an effective weapon for firefighting efforts in the region.
“We are very thankful to Telus and GlobalMedic for the generous donation of wildland skid units to Northern Alberta,” he said.
“The Town of High Level looks forward to working with the area departments in providing the training to ensure these unit provide effective protection to homes.”