The Moricetown firefighters put their award-winning training to the test rescuing boaters Tuesday.

Moricetown Fire and Fisheries team up in river rescue

Provincial champ Moricetown Fire Services and Moricetown Fisheries picked up stranded Bulkley River boaters who flipped their canoe.

On July 5 at 10:11 p.m., Smithers RCMP received a report that four people had just capsized a canoe below the canyon on Bulkley River in Moricetown. All four individuals made it to shore but were stranded on the opposite side of the river.

Moricetown Fire Services and Moricetown Fisheries utilized their jet boat and assisted in retrieving the individuals in a very short time frame. All parties were uninjured and declined Emergency Health Services. Boating safety was discussed with the canoeists.

Boat operators are reminded not to exceed the seating capacity of vessels and to ensure all occupants have a personal flotation device.

Smithers RCMP greatly appreciate the rapid and effective response provided by Moricetown Fire Rescue and Fisheries.

Released by Rob Mitchell, Staff Sergeant

Smithers RCMP


Moricetown firefighters were well-prepared for the rescue, as evidenced in a recent Interior News story about their win at the First Nations Firefighter competition. They will be attending the nationals hosted by the Six Nations of the Grand River, located near Hamilton, Ont., on Aug. 13.


Moricetown firefighters win provincials

By Xuyun Zeng

Moricetown’s fire department proved their worth at the 32nd Annual First Nations Firefighter Competition held June 6 in Richmond.

They beat the Heiltsuk, Kitkatla, Saik’uz, Penelakut and Tlazten First Nations’ fire departments, to become the provincials champions.

“For me, it just shows that my guys are still on top of their game. They’ve been ready to fight fire in the reserve if we need to,” said fire chief Desmond McKinnon. “We haven’t had much fires in the last two years, so just knowing that my guys are ready and capable of taking on a fire if we need to.”

At the competition, the First Nations Emergency Services Society challenged the firefighters to four firefighting scenarios, also called “evolutions.”

The first evolution required them to replace a burst hose. The second challenged them to don their breathing apparatus and drag a hose 100 feet and hit a target. The third required them to hook a hose to the fire truck and fill three buckets placed 50 feet from each other. The fourth required them to roll up the hose as quickly as possible.

Chief McKinnon said he keeps his firefighters in top shape by having regular training including monthly meetings and regularly testing of their equipment and fire trucks.

“So that when we need to be ready, we’re ready,” said McKinnon.

As a result of their win, the Moricetown Fire Services qualified for nationals hosted by the Six Nations of the Grand River, located near Hamilton, Ont., on Aug. 13.

They will face seven regions, including Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nunavut and the Atlantic region.

“Last five years that we’ve been going, it was either Alberta or Saskatchewan winning it,” he said. “We’re practising up to two times a week, because it’s our sixth time going and we’d like to finish better than fifth. Our best finish is fifth.”

The training will come in handy in Ontario. Not only will McKinnon and his firefighters have to face some of the best in Canada, the firefighting scenarios they will have to face might be harder or easier, depending on their luck.

“Every competition is different for evolutions,” said McKinnon. “I think there’s 21 evolutions altogether, so they’ll put them all in a hat.”

“They just pick them out of a hat when we get there at the captain’s meeting, so we don’t even know what evolutions we’re going to be doing when we get there,” said McKinnon.

The Moricetown firefighters’ biggest challenge is the combination relay, said McKinnon.

The combination relay is a medley of firefighting challenges involving four guys.

The first firefighter has to drag three lengths of hose filled with water 75 feet, hit a target and walk back to the 50-foot line and tap the next firefighter. That firefighter has to don his breathing apparatus and turn on the air and walk 50 feet to the third firefighter. The third firefighter has to replace the second firefighters’ breathing apparatus and tag the fourth guy, who has to hit a tire with a 12-pound sledgehammer 25 times before tagging the fifth guy 50 feet away.

The fifth guy finishes the relay after putting on his personal protective equipment and his teammates will successively tag in reverse order and return to the start line.


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