Going above and beyond the call of duty

Versatile, ‘self-reliant’ Tulita Fire Rescue volunteers keep remote northern community safe

In this small Northwest Territories hamlet, the volunteer members of Tulita Fire Rescue wear multiple hats. Each year, the department completes extra training to ensure it can serve its community in a multitude of ways.

“We do swift-water rescue training, vehicle extrication training, wilderness first aid training and first responder training at the department. The community relies on us to be the first on scene to stabilize patients and move them to the health center,” notes Fire Chief Timothy Tomczynski.

“We try to be as self-reliant as possible to make sure we can handle whatever is thrown our way.”

The department serves approximately 500 residents in Tulita and the surrounding area. With a vehicle licenced and registered as an ambulance, Tulita Fire Rescue’s 13 volunteers play an important role in keeping the community safe.

“For the past four years, Enbridge has been sponsoring our training. The grant money we’ve received has given us an excellent opportunity to gain extra training above and beyond the regular firefighter training,” explains Fire Chief Timothy Tomczynski.

Safe Community First Responder Program

Since its launch, Enbridge's Safe Community program has invested more than US$16.6 million (more than C$21.5 million) in first responder organizations near our pipelines and facilities.

This extra training allows the department to respond to all kinds of emergencies—not just fires—such as vehicle rollovers, wildlife attacks and swift-water rescues. “We’re offering training not just for the fire department, but a few other people in the community as well,” says Tomczynski.

Tulita Fire Rescue also stays active in the community by providing fire safety education in schools, and visiting residents’ homes to ensure fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working.

“Since taking over the fire department, we’ve had to spend quite a bit of money on replacing some of the older equipment and getting the proper gear. This year we purchased a new fire truck,” remarks Tomczynski.

“A lot of the funds for our hamlet have gone to making sure that we have the right equipment and we’re staying within the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) guidelines and rules.”

Enbridge’s Safe Community grant program helps emergency responder organizations keep the communities where we live and work safe. Our $7,500 contribution to Tulita Fire Rescue will allow the organization to complete its annual training for 2020.

“For the health and safety of Tulita and the fire department, that money goes a long way to help prepare us and keep us safe so we can serve the community,” says Tomczynski.