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July 31, 2012, Redwood Meadows, Alta. – I ended last week’s blog wondering how close Redwood Meadows Emergency Services (RMES) would come to the record of 59 calls for the month of July. For those who did not read my last blog, I mentioned that the Tsuu T’ina Nation’s Annual Rodeo and Pow Wow, which typically rounds out our busiest week of the year, was being held on the weekend.

July 31, 2012
By Rob Evans

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July 31, 2012, Redwood Meadows, Alta. – I ended last week’s blog wondering how close Redwood Meadows Emergency Services (RMES) would come to the record of 59 calls for the month of July. For those who did not read my last blog, I mentioned that the Tsuu T’ina Nation’s Annual Rodeo and Pow Wow, which typically rounds out our busiest week of the year, was being held on the weekend.

The week started out with our engine and tender responding to a major fire at which a house, guesthouse and artist studio were fully involved when crews arrived. At the end of Sunday, just prior to midnight, we responded with Alberta Health Services to a medical co-response for a patient who had overdosed on an unknown substance. For those of you who follow RMES on Twitter – (@RMESfire) – don’t cheat, but can you guess how many calls we had by the end of the week? Did we get close to that record high of 59 incidents? Well, after responding to 38 calls in the past week, we shattered the old record with 70 responses in July on Monday and there was still one day left in the month – not bad for our group of volunteers. Our total count for the year now is 268 with a projected total of more than 400 calls for service.

Like many departments across Canada we have a great group of dedicated responders. For the rodeo on the weekend, we had two groups of six firefighters (last week I wrongly reported the groups would be five) that took turns being the first out. They were kept hopping throughout, regardless of the hour.

Sunday was the busiest day with 12 dispatches to events. At one point, we had four different calls going on at the same time, which were handled seamlessly by our crews and Public Safety Communications in Calgary, our dispatch. The first of the batch was a woman who had broken her leg and our crews used our Polaris Ranger to extricate her from the trail up to the waiting ambulance. As crews were arriving to this event, the tones went off for a non-injury motor vehicle collision. The use of our chain saws was required to recover the vehicle and clean up fluids . . . we used absorbent to pick up the fluids, not the saws. Almost simultaneously, the tones sounded once more for a bull rider at the rodeo who required a co-response for traumatic injuries. And, in what seemed to be the theme for the day, we were toned out for a motorcycle collision with what turned out to be a very serious ankle/foot injury to the driver of the bike. Crews were able to clear from the first call in the batch, as the patient had just been loaded into the ambulance.

The crews at RMES did a fantastic job over the week and can be proud of the effort they have put in for the community. As far as scheduled events go, August will slow down. There is a day that the summer camp will visit for some water fight fun, but that’s always a blast. We just hope that the unscheduled events that call us out at all hours slow down just a tad. RMES is done with any record setting until next July.

Rob Evans is the fire chief for Redwood Meadows Emergency Services, 25 kilometres west of Calgary. Evans attended the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in 1989 and studied photojournalism. In 1992, he joined RMES after taking pictures of an interface fire and making prints for the department. He has his NFPA 1001 level II certification, NFPA 472 Operations and Awareness (hazmat), NFPA 1041 level I (fire service instructor), Dalhousie University Certificate in Fire Service Leadership and Certificate in Fire Service Administration and is a registered Emergency Medical Responder with the Alberta College of Paramedics. He lives in Redwood Meadows with his wife, a firefighter/EMT with RMES, and three children.


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