February 21st, 2024

Blood Tribe firefighters advance learning with city partnership


By Lethbridge Herald on October 13, 2023.

Blood Tribe firefighter-paramedics Eleanor Maud-Stephens and partner Linda Hall learn hose movement techniques in the burn tower Thursday morning at the Lethbridge fire department training centre. Herald photo by Ian Martens

Theodora MacLeod – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

On a drizzly Thursday in Lethbridge, firefighters from the Blood Tribe were in town to sharpen their skills and take advantage of the city’s burn tower. 

Under the tutelage of Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services, approximately half of the Blood Tribes force were given a lesson in hose movement and what deputy chief of training Wes Borland called “nozzle forward” techniques. 

Fire chief for Blood Tribe Emergency Services Travis Coleman says it’s an important learning experience for his young team. 

“We really are excited for this,” said Coleman. 

 “The facility here is spectacular. We have the fire tower, we have the props, we have real fire.” 

Coleman says that while training is done on the reserve in houses, there are a lot of advantages to the partnership, including the opportunity for future collaboration. 

“A lot of our staff work hard, and train out there and then have goals and aspirations to come into Lethbridge.” 

He hopes the two organizations will continue to work together using the same techniques and training in eventually having mutual aid agreements. 

“We want to build that partnership to where we can be their farm team.” 

Borland shares Coleman’s sentiment. 

“It’s a good collaboration between Blood Tribe and ourselves. They’re our neighbours and any time that we can help them, or they can help us, we’re open to that.” 

Spirits were high inside the burn tower as the crews worked through drills that emphasized teamwork and efficiency using the hose. Members of the Blood Tribe team shared that having the opportunity to learn from Lethbridge has been beneficial to them. 

Though both the Lethbridge and Blood Tribe fire crews are equipped to handle a blaze, Lethbridge fire prevention officer Troy Hicks was on hand to also discuss the importance of fire prevention, with the second week in October being Fire Prevention Week. 

Hicks reminds everyone that smoke detectors are vital in early the detection of a fire, but they do expire after 10 years and need to be replaced. 

“North America wide, cooking fires average close to 50 per cent of all home fires we have,” said Hicks.

“Cooking fires are also one of the main contributors to the home fire deaths we have.” 

He advises anyone cooking to be alert and not leave the home while cooking, keep a lid beside any stove top cooking to allow for sudden flames to be covered quickly, and ensure kids and pets maintain a safe distance of one metre (or three feet) from the stove.

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