The Tache Fire Department had a big turnout Saturday in Landmark for its annual pancake breakfast. Fire Chief Pete Skjaerlund says about 700 people attended the event. He says the purpose is to raise community awareness and generate some funds for equipment.
"The proceeds are going towards our specialty account. It's a an account use to purchase specialty equipment that we can't afford in our budget such as air bags for lifting heavy trucks, our jaws equipment, which is very costly, our air breathing system for filling our air bottles, things of that nature, thermal imagers and so on and so forth. It's been really good. They are really expensive and this helps us out tremendously."
The Tache Fire Department has halls in Landmark, Lorette and Ste. Genevieve. Skjaerlund says they are fully staffed with volunteers and all three halls and have a really good crew. He notes it takes a big commitment to be a volunteer firefighter.
"They have to go through their level one firefighting course, which includes vehicle extrication, a hazmat (hazardous materials) operations course and stuff and it's quite extensive. It takes approximately a year to a little of a year to complete so it is quite extensive. The guys are training hard and I think it shows. The bar is maybe set a little high but a that's okay, we need something to keep going and we need a little bit of a goal."
He notes fire calls are down a bit this year, something he attributes to increased public awareness about fire safety.
Skjaerlund says he is so thankful for the turnout Saturday, one of the largest ever, which shows the tremendous support for the fire department.