A little over a year after a review of fire services in the territory was published, firefighting capabilities in some communities are beginning to grow with the delivery of updated equipment and training to residents and volunteer firefighters.
A truck from the territory’s Wildland Fire Management branch and other new equipment was recently delivered to the community of Keno. Training is set to begin so that volunteers can respond as scene safety responders, the Yukon government said in a Jan. 6 statement.
Members of the Mayo Volunteer Fire Department will also be familiarized with the truck, as they can serve Keno under a mutual-aid agreement.
The delivery of the truck, new equipment and training in Keno comes after members of the community pooled their cash in 2022 to purchase a fire truck from a private seller in Whitehorse to allow for some firefighting capability in the community of 20 residents.
It also follows the review of Yukon fire services published in December 2021. The government said over the course of the year since it was published, the fire marshal’s office has been working with communities to come up with solutions to provide fire services in communities.
Under the new “levels of fire service” model, a community’s capacity and needs are matched with what the government describes as sustainable fire service programs.
It means if a community has one or more volunteers, it can begin a fire safety champion program. There is potential to grow from that into a scene safety response unit, exposure protection (basic), exterior (advanced) and interior (firefighter 1) fire service, based on volunteers in a community.
“A year ago, the fire services review presented us with a roadmap to improve fire prevention and protection in this vast territory,” Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn said. “The Yukon government is committed to the sustainable delivery of rural fire services. We are proud of the progress made by the fire marshal’s office and communities across the Yukon and look forward to further momentum.”
Other recent initiatives have seen eight volunteers start fire safety training in Ross River in November and a fire safety champion identified in Beaver Creek to support fire safety, prevention and recruitment. Planning is also underway to recruit and train volunteers for a fire safety and protection program in Old Crow.
The Yukon government said it plans to continue providing equipment, training and administrative support for fire services throughout the territory, while also working on a strategic plan for the next decade of fire services in the Yukon.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at firstname.lastname@example.org