The new fire hall in the RM of Hanover has taken off some of the pressure on the Steinbach Fire Department.  

Steinbach Fire Chief Kel Toews says the new fire hall takes around 20-25 calls a year that the Steinbach Fire Hall would previously be taking.   

“Last year we jumped up in fire call numbers, but previous to that, we held steady at about 290-300 calls a year.”  

He says Hanover Fire Hall now covers Mitchell and Blumenort.  

“We're just covering Friedensfeld area for them now and that's it.”  

He’s excited that their training center is up and running.  

"We've got a house moved there. We use it on a pretty regular basis,” he says. “We were training there last Tuesday, we're going to be training there next Tuesday.”  

Last year they got a concrete pad where they do their vehicle extrication training on.   

“We've got some shipping containers that we're going to be turning into a burn facility this year, so we can do safe controlled burns within it,” he says. “We've now got piece of land where we can put props if we get stuff donated to us.” 

He says something on his agenda for this year is to slowly add to the training center.   

“We're pretty excited that we have that training center, and again, we're using it on a very regular basis.” 

One last thing he brings up is cancer prevention, as it is currently a popular topic in the fire industry.   

Chief Toews says firefighters are 2.5 times more likely to get certain types of cancer.   

“I don't know if you're all aware of the presumptive legislation in Manitoba... there's 19 cancers on the list that if a firefighter gets cancer, it's presumed they got it from firefighting,” he says. “And now it's up to compensation to prove that it was otherwise.”   

He says that when the hall was built 17 years ago, it wasn't a big topic, so their ventilation is inadequate.   

He also notes there is a big movement for cleaning the turnout gear better.  

“Last year we bought a new washer and new dryer so we can clean turnout gear after calls.”  

Chief Toews says they currently don't have enough shower facilities for people to shower after fire calls.  

“Again, 17 years ago, it wasn't a big issue, it is now.”