Elko Fire Department comes on line
After about 10 years of musing, discussion, community meetings and more, the community of Elko and surrounding area now has its own fire service.
The Elko Volunteer Fire Department was officially launched Saturday, Jan. 30 with a ribbon cutting and a first radio call from Fire Dispatch.
About 50 people, not counting all the assembled members of the fire department, attended the grand opening and toured the new fire hall.
Regional District of East Kootenay Electoral Area C director and board chair Rob Gay and Electoral Area B director Stan Doehle, along with Elk Valley and South Country Rural Fire & Rescue Service Fire Chief Dave Boreen led the proceedings.
“As a person who spent over 20 years as a firefighter, I personally know the value of this new service to the community and the incredible dedication of the men and women who have signed on as firefighters,” said Doehle. “From Shayne Webster and the community champions who first approached the RDEK several years ago about establishing a fire service, to RDEK Staff, former Area B Director Heath Slee and others, it has taken many hands and hundreds of hours to bring the Elko Fire Service from a vision of the community to a reality.”
On hand for the ribbon cutting were several of the new Elko firefighters who have been training for months. “We owe our sincere thanks to the members of our Elko Fire Department. They have dedicated time and energy to training and have offered to share their skills and service with their community. Without this tremendous, dedicated crew, we would not have a fire service,” added Doehle.
Boreen said the project team has been working on Elko Fire since 2011. “We overcame several hurdles and we found more efficient ways to bring this very important service to the residents of Elko,” he said. “The final approvals for this service came in April of 2015 and since then, we have purchased the necessary equipment to operate the fire department, renovated the school basement to house our administration and training room, and most importantly, we’ve trained local residents to become firefighters. These firefighters are the backbone of this department.”
Boreen also acknowledged Canfor for its continued support and the donation of lumber to construct the fire hall, and BC Hydro for the grant that was used to purchase firefighting equipment.
Long-time Electoral Area B director Heath Slee, who oversaw the initial discussions surrounding the establishment of the fire service was also on hand for the ribbon cutting.
The RDEK also provides need-to-know information for residents in the Elko Fire Service area.
– If you live in the Elko Fire Protection Service area, you can call 911 for fires. Click here to view the map. The Fire Department cannot respond to house fires outside the Fire Protection Service area boundary.
– First Responder service is not yet available in Elko. The firefighters are currently training and we will advise the community once the department receives First Responder status.
– The fire department will now have to undergo ‘grading’ by the Fire Underwriters Survey. This step can’t happen until a fire service is operating, and we can’t provide any letters or notification regarding the fire protection service for purposes of home insurance until this grading is complete. We hope to have it completed within the next few months and will continue to keep the community informed.
If you have questions about the new fire service, please contact South Country Fire Services at 250-429-3133 or email [email protected].
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By Ian Cobb/e-KNOW