Members of the Moricetown Volunteer Fire Department don their equipment Saturday.

Members of the Moricetown Volunteer Fire Department don their equipment Saturday.

Firefighter competition heats up

The First Nations’ Emergency Service Society’s safety expo heated up Smithers over the weekend.

The First Nations’ Emergency Service Society’s safety expo heated up Smithers over the weekend.

The 30th annual safety expo featured four days of info sessions and guest speakers, before ending with one of the most intense events: the volunteer firefighters’ competition.

Saturday’s event at Walnut Park pitted six volunteer firefighter departments against each other as they competed in four challenges.

Evolutions included hose rolling, a bucket relay, and tests to ensure their breathing apparatus is working properly.

“Is isn’t just about speed here, it’s about looking at basic skills that firefighters should know,” said Michelle Buchholz, fire services coordinator for the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of B.C.

Buchholz added that Moricetown was favoured to win, having won the competiton over the last three years.

“The guys in the (Moricetown) volunteer fire department have grown up together . . . they train really hard together for these competitions. It instills pride in what they do because they’re all volunteers,” she said. “It gives them a good sense of leadership.”

“It’s quite competitive between the local teams, said Buchholz. “We also have teams that haven’t participated in a while.”

Five other departments participated in this year’s event including Tl’azt’en, Gitwinksihlkw, Gitlaxt’aamiks Saik’uz, and Skidegate.

“We’re hoping that they will have some camaraderie between the teams and being able to exhibit the skills they learned as volunteer firefighters . . . and [bringing]that information back home with them,” said Buchholz.

The top prize up for grabs was a gift card to buy new gear for their fire department. The winning team will move on to the national firefighter competition in Fort McMurray in Alberta in August.

The results of the competition were not available before press time on Monday.