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County to train firefighters in Horse Lake First Nation

Over the next 15 months or so, firefighters from the County of Grande Prairie will be training first responders in Horse Lake First Nation.

Adminstrator Darwin Eckstrom says the ball got rolling after the CBC’s Michael Enright published an essay revealing that Canadians living on a reserve are ten times more likely to die in a house fire.

“Right now we have limited training for the members of the band, and what we wanted to do is we’re going to bring them up to an introductory firefighting level. It’s basically the same course the County is teaching to the people that are doing their fire training.”

12 members of the local fire department will get basic firefighting safety and suppression skills training every Thursday and some Saturdays.

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The cost will be covered by funding from the provincial government.

County Reeve Leanne Beaupre says they jumped at the opportunity to help improve safety in the community.

“It’s invaluable for them, for the security and peace of mind to be able to respond in a timely fashion and to know that you’re able to be that lifesaver or be able to save a structure because of the response time it takes to come.

The closest County station is in Hythe.

Beaupre hopes this partnership will lead to others in the future.

Photo: County Reeve Leanne Beaupre and Horse Lake First Nations Chief Eugene Horseman with Aboriginal Affairs Associate Minister Dorward, Grande Prairie-Wapiti MLA Honourable Wayne Drysdale, County Councillor Bob Marshall, County Councillor Brock Smith, County Fire Chief Everett Cooke, County Deputy Fire Chief of Rural Operations Dan Verdun, and members of the Horse Lake First Nations Council.

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