It’s a celebration that impacts every person living in our region.
On Saturday, at the Company #4 Firehall in Trail, the Trail Firefighters Local 941 will be celebrating its 70th year of existence with an open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
It’s an opportunity for the public to tour the fire hall, enjoy some cake and meet the people who are committed to protecting the community 24/7.
“Our celebration is more about the fact that we’ve served our community for 70 years,” explained firefighter Rick Morris who also serves as secretary/treasurer for Local 941.
“We’ve grown, from starting out small, to something that’s regional. We just want to say thanks to our communities.
“We haven’t had an open house in quite some time. We’ve got some new equipment and some new faces so it’ll be nice to show that off to the public.”
The milestone celebration got its roots on Oct. 3, 1947 when the local chapter was certified with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF).
It was the Trail Fire Department up until 1983 and then became a regionalized service and renamed the Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue. Companies 1 through 6 encompasses Fruitvale all the way to Rossland, Genelle and Areas A and B for a total of 1,120 square kilometres of area.
And while firefighters have braved many big battles in our region over the years, Local 941 is as much about what it does behind the scenes as in front of the flames.
It’s all the other things like education, fire prevention, school visits, fundraising, organizing fireworks and parades and so much more that encompasses the life of the members in our community.
And Local 941 members don’t stop when their shift does. Very few weekends or community events go by without witnessing members out fundraising for causes like the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital, Sanctuary and the province-wide Burn Fund, which has provided valuable help for many young victims of fires.
“The Burn Centre (in Richmond) is part of what the Burn Fund does,” explained Morris. “It is the charitable arm of the BCPFFA (B.C. Professional Fire Fighters Association). Each year over 700 children from around B.C. are admitted to the centre. It’s a home-away-from-home for patients and families while undergoing treatments.”
Funds are raised to support burn survivors, research and increase public awareness. Firefighters from across the province volunteer their time for a variety of province-wide events like the Burn Camp for burn survivors.
“We’re dedicated to saving lives and properties and committed to protecting our community at all times,” added Morris.
“And Local 941 is committed to serving the needs of the firefighters in lobbying for increase health and safety improvements, education for members and strong labour relations.
“We also lobby local, provincial and federal governments to represent the best interests of all firefighters on issues affecting their working conditions, health and well being.”
Anytime the members respond to an emergency, they’ve gone through extensive training to prepare for those moments, which can be the difference between life and death. It’s also about education and preventing emergencies before they happen.
For 70 years members of Local 941 have been dedicated to protecting citizens of our region and to improve the lives of others.
And while Saturday may be their chance to say thanks to the community, it’s also a chance for the community to say thank you to them.