As High River firefighters clean out their fire hall, they’re finding old equipment to help volunteer firefighters south of the equator.
The donation of pants, jackets, boots, stretchers and hoses for about 35 people is part of an initiative started by the Taber Lion’s Club.
The goal is to help volunteers establish a community-based fire department just outside a small village called San Juan de la Costa, Chile — a South American spot that, incidentally, has about the same 10,000-person population as High River.
The Alberta fire department’s gear that was just collecting dust in the hall will now be put to good use in the volunteer firefighting training program.
“They’re getting their training and then they’d show up in jeans and t-shirts, so having anything above that is huge,” said Lance Bushie, High River’s fire chief.
“And as far as from the world of firefighting, everything that we do is personal protective equipment — you know we’re head-to-toe in it and immersed in so much with dealing with the hazards that we deal with that I just can’t imagine somebody taking the training and putting themselves in those hazards without some basic protective equipment.”
On Aug. 31, High River firefighters loaded up five tonnes of gear which is earmarked to arrive in the rural Chilean community in one to two months.