The Niverville Fire and Emergency Services received their new Jaws of Life in mid-December, 2022.
Fire Chief Keith Bueckert says they can use this equipment even when they’re a bit short on personnel.
He says it’s a big game-changer since their old hydraulic equipment requires them to hook lines up to a pump. “We have a certain amount of feet of hose that we're allowed to work with at a scene,” he says. “This new technology we have now is all battery-operated and works even if we're limited with members.”
Bueckert says raising the money for the new Jaws of Life really kicked into gear when an anonymous business in town wanted to do something for Niverville Fire & EMS.
“They were asking if we were doing fundraising or something that they could help us out with, and we had been talking about updating our Jaws in town.”
Bueckert explained the situation to the business, and so, with the help of the Niverville Chamber of Commerce, the business owner asked the Niverville business community to also donate towards purchasing the new piece of equipment.
“They were willing to match up to $25,000 if we were able to raise funds through the business community.”
Bueckert says even the residents in town jumped on board to support the cause. "The entire fundraising effort went extremely well. We have a few tools that we're still waiting on for the new piece of equipment, but we're now in the process of fitting them (what we do have) onto our rescue truck."
Niverville Fire & EMS currently has 35 volunteers and another five in training. Bueckert says they're very well set up. He is extremely grateful for each volunteer.
Bueckert notes, they had a total of 339 calls. "For fires and our First Responders within the town limits and when we're required for mutual aid for a neighboring department. So it was extremely busy for us last year.”
In December alone, Bueckert estimates they had 44 calls. “I can't remember the number exactly, but our members were able to answer them all,” he says. “And kudos to them and also to their families for allowing our members to leave at times when, I'm sure, it wasn't the best times for people to be responding to a call.”
Bueckert says as the town grows, the need for more staff and better equipment grows as well. “We have quite a few commuters coming in and out of our community, so our need for updating this equipment was something that we talked about at our membership meetings. So this works out great for us.”
With files from Adi Loewen