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ERICKSON AND DISTRICT FIRE DEPARTMENT 1984-2000

Much has changed SInce the mid-1900's when the Erickson & District Fire Department was formed. Bucket Brigades, wagons and converted fuel trucks for fighting fires are now in the past. Proper equipment, clothing and training are a must in today's society. Firefighters are now dealing with poisonous gases given off by buruing plas­ tics or performing rescues at motor vehicle accidents where blood borue diseases are found. Firefighter's health and safety is the highest priority.

December 1989 the fire department took possession of the present custom made triple combination pumper. The combination being the 650-gallon per minute pump, 900 gallons of water and required ladders to perform fire fight­ ing. The new pumper became the front line unit for the fire department. The pumper was custom built by Thibeault Fire Trucks near Montreal on a GMC chassis with diesel engine and automatic transmission supplied by Parkwood Auto of Erickson. Because of the $90,000 price tag, the old pumper, a 1964 converted fuel truck, was retrofitted for use as a tanker for water shuttling where no fire hydrants are avail­ able and for off road use while fighting wildland fires.

During the late 1980's, policy was drawn up between the fire department and Erickson Ambulance to attend motor vehicle accidents for fire protection and assisting with extrication and first aid of the accident victims. It did not take long to realize people will die in front of us

without proper equipment designed for the quick removal of victims. During a fire department meeting, following a very serious accident near Erickson, discussion was held to fund raise to purchase the' Jaws of Life'. Although no decision was reached to proceed with this project, the Wasagaming RCMP detachment heard of our discussion. Unannounced, members dropped by our October 1991 meeting with $760, proceeds from the annual RCMP golf touruament along with $304 from Jim Dudman's Wasagaming Golf Course to be used for the purchase of the 'Jaws of Life'. A decision to proceed with fund rais­ ing was quickly reached and involved a joint effort with EricksonAmbulance. Statistics on traffic counts and motor vehicle accidents within the Erickson Ambulance area confirmed the need for specialized rescue equipment. The Village of Erickson, RM of Clan william, RM of Harrison and LGD of Park provided major funding. Significant funding was also received from Rolling River First Nation and Riding Mountain National Park. The understanding was reached that the rescue equipment will be made available to their communities whenever required. With an adver­ tising campaign to raise the balance of funds required, money began to flow from personal and corporate dona­ tion and virtually every service club and church organization in the area. In less than 5 months, more than $21,000 were donated. April 24, 1992, the Hurst 'Jaws of Life', purchased for more than $17,000.00, was received by the fire department. The excess funding allowed for the purchase of a portable generator, lighting for night work, specialty hand tools, and chains and blocking. With Federal

Photo by 'The Minnedosa Tribune Ltd. 'May 1997

Erickson, Onanole and Sandy Lake Fire Departments work to control a blaze in the attic of Heather S Restaurant on Main Street

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