After years of fundraising and community support, the Carlyle Fire Department is feeling the payoff of their new fire hall that they moved into last December.
The Mercury spoke to Deputy Fire Chief Rob Klassen about how the new building has improved the department's operation and the working experience of its members. The department currently has 22 members from Carlyle and the surrounding area.
Klassen shared how the increased storage in the new hall has streamlined the department’s operation and call response.
“Now, every truck has its own base, so we do not have to worry about which truck goes out first. Certainly, it is more efficient for us. It allows for a faster response.”
He emphasized how the new facility's size, especially while dealing with COVID restrictions, has maximized the department's productivity.
“It’s three times the size of the building we were in, so it gives us enough room to store all of our equipment inside, it allows for a proper meeting and conference room where we can train. The big thing is just the amount of space we have now, compared to what we did have. It just allows for so much more when it comes to training and things like that.”
Having the ability to store all rescue equipment inside the building has increased the security of the hall, allowing members to focus more on training and emergency response.
“Before, we had some equipment that we had to leave outside. We just didn’t have room in our old hall to put it in. One of the items was a trailer that we used to haul equipment for grass fires, Ski-doo rescues, or quad rescues. We had to make sure it was locked up at all times, and we were constantly checking it. Now, everything is inside, so we really don’t have that worry of somebody coming along and stealing equipment.”
Klassen explained that the old hall lacked proper air ventilation, so the smell of smoke became an issue. The high technology of the new building has created a much healthier working environment for the department members. Along with ventilation, the fire hall has a kitchen area in the conference room.
“Guys actually want to spend time at the hall.”
In the last month and a half, the fire department has attracted five new members thanks to the facility. There has also been increased attendance of existing members at meetings and in training.
“We struggled to get members to come and stay, just because of the conditions, so it’s certainly boosted morale. It has been a huge boost for us.”
Klassen said the fire department started looking at building a new facility about 14 years ago. To fundraise, the department held annual golf tournaments, for which there were numerous generous sponsors. As a department, members were able to raise over $100,000.
“The donations that the town's businesses and people made just showed the guys that they are appreciated, and again that just contributes to boosting morale. We don’t do it for the accolades. We do it because we want to serve something bigger than ourselves. We want to be able to assist the community in their time of need.”
The fire department is looking forward to hosting an official grand opening of the new hall for the community when restrictions allow for larger gatherings.
“We want to thank the town and the R.M. of Moose Mountain for going ahead with the build. It’s certainly appreciated, and it’s made a world of difference. We have a lot of gratitude.”