Posted on: July 13, 2020 | Whiteshell News
As some of you noted in the last edition of the Whiteshell Echo (log into your account to read it online here), the North Whiteshell has taken the necessary initial steps to develop a volunteer fire department with a planned start date of May 2021. Unlike the South Whiteshell portion of the park, the North Whiteshell has no structural fire protection and as a result there are 1550 cottages and businesses that are presently exposed and at risk from a fire perspective.
Manitoba Conservation staff are only trained, equipped and organized to conduct limited suppression on structures by protecting exteriors only. Exterior protection involves actions that are limited to ensuring the fire does not spread from a structure to the forest or another structure or from the forest to a structure.
Many of you participated in a survey in 2018 that affirmed the concept of a North Whiteshell fire department. That survey has provided the starting point for our committee to develop a business plan and apply for a grant with the Province of Manitoba – Building Sustainable Communities Program. We have recently been notified of our successful grant application that will now enable us to start implementing the necessary next steps of the business plan to move forward with a fire department.
In late June we met with the North Whiteshell Business Owners Association and we are starting the process of recruiting volunteers. The minimum level of training that will be required will consist of First aid / CPR and a 2 day wildland / urban interface course that will be taught by the Manitoba Emergency Services College at a location within the park. In addition to the above, we are now reviewing equipment requirements, 911 service and a number of related issues
We anticipate that training of fire fighters will start in the fall of 2020 and we will be providing additional updates at the fall Whiteshell Cottagers Association meeting (AGM), WCA Website (https://whiteshellcottagers.com/), social media and the Whiteshell Echo. Should you require additional information, questions or would like to find out more information on how to become a volunteer, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The people listed below are driving this initiative forward.
Don Binda – Dorothy Lake
Jared Blair – Jessica Lake – Winnipeg Firefighter
Christian Kennedy – Jessica Lake
Gary Kennedy – White Lake
Neil McMillan – Jessica Lake
DJ Seales – Barrier Bay Resort (President-North Whiteshell Business Association)
Ken Sim – Eleanor Lake (Retired Firefighter/Fire Chief)
Ken Sommer – Eleanor Lake
Working with the committee are three people from Manitoba Conservation & Climate:
Sue Atkin – Park Specialist
Richard Romaniuk – Senior Park Advisor
Geoff Smith – Regional Field Supervisor
As well as Wayne Ewasko – MLA Southeastern Manitoba