Maintaining PSI prowess during a rapid response

Pump operator training will keep volunteer Kahnawake Fire Brigade ready for any emergency

Preserving life and property takes courage. It takes a sense of duty.

And, notes David Scott, it also takes a head for numbers.

“Yep—you have to have strong math skills,” says Scott, chief of the Kahnawake Fire Brigade in Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, Quebec. “You need to be able to make calculations for water flow, pounds per square inch (PSI) at the end of the nozzle, water pressure capabilities for the truck . . . anything and everything. It’s all math.

“People see a fire truck at the scene, and a firefighter standing at the control panel—it’s not just turning the water on and off. Every hose that comes off that truck is set to a certain pressure, and needs to be maintained at a certain pressure,” he says. “You also have to watch the water intake from the hydrant . . . you always need to stay ahead of the game. You can’t just react.”

To keep his crew of 41 volunteer firefighters at the top of their game, the Kahnawake Fire Brigade will be putting 10 of its people through a pumping apparatus driver-operator certification course this summer.

The eight-day course, with five days of theory and three days of evaluation, will be offered on-site by instructors from the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC)—and ensure properly trained personnel can respond at any time, to any emergency.

“We handle vehicle extrication, brush fires, structure fires. We have a mutual aid agreement with 21 municipalities all around us,” says Scott. “We have two major highways, a major bridge, the CP Rail train tracks, and the St. Lawrence Seaway all running through our territory. Everything and anything happens here.”

Enbridge is committed to safety—it’s the very foundation of our business—and that includes the safety of our neighbors in the communities near our projects and operations.

Our Safe Community program has operated since 2002, awarding grants to local first-response emergency services, including firefighters and rescue services—and since its inception, Safe Community has invested about $10.7 million in emergency responder organizations across North America.

We recently made a Safe Community donation of $12,800 to the Kahnawake Fire Brigade for the delivery of this summer’s pumping apparatus certification course. Enbridge’s previous grants to the Kahnawake Fire Brigade helped pay for emergency vehicle operator standards certification and hazardous materials awareness certification.

“With ours being a volunteer force, people come and people go, but we still need fully trained pump operators, ladder operators, and officers,” says Scott, who’s been with the Kahnawake Fire Brigade for 36 years, and chief since 2008.

“It’s time to replenish the ranks—to get some fresh blood in there. The course this summer will help us be properly prepared for any emergency.”