Moosomin Firefighters receive Protective Services Medal
November 7, 2019 3:58 pm
Seven members of the Moosomin Fire Department were presented with the Saskatchewan Protective Services Medal by Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty and Provincial Secretary Todd Goudy at a ceremony at Government House in Regina on Tuesday, October 29.
Protective Services Medals were presented to Fire Chief Rob Hanson, Deputy Fire Chief Mike Cooper, and firefighters Richard Hogarth, Joe Matichuk, Robert Moran, Greg Nosterud, and Jack Thompson.
“It is so important that we take time to recognize the courage and dedication that emergency professionals demonstrate in their daily lives,” Goudy said.
“They have ensured protection and safety for the citizens of this province and I want to thank them for their service.”
The medal honours personnel with 25 years of service in Saskatchewan in the emergency services field, including police services, fire services, emergency medical services, federal and provincial corrections and the Canadian Forces.
Recipients receive a circular medal surmounted by the St. Edward’s Crown. The medal bears the motto Qui civitatem tuentur (who guard the citizenry).
Appreciative of award
Moosomin Fire Chief Rob Hanson said it felt great to be honored with the medal after 32 years with the fire department.
He said he got into firefighting through his involvement with mine rescue.
“I worked at the mine and I was in mine rescue and I got established there, and that was something I always wanted to do,” Hanson said. “I wanted to be on the fire department, or emergency services of some sort. Mine rescue was quite intensive training, and then I just thought I’d like to join the fire department.”
He said there is a lot of ongoing training involved in being a firefighter.
“We train once a month,” Hanson said. “We go over equipment and do some training. We have a lot of people that have taken level one and level two through the Manitoba Fire College. We do in-house training on things like extraction and water rescue. We are hoping to do a grain rescue course.”
Big time commitment for volunteers
Hanson says there is a big time commitment for volunteer firefighters.
“It can add up, between calls, meetings and training,” he said. “You can have one call that is five hours long. We had a fatality south of town we responded to where we were there for six hours, so it all depends on what you’re doing.”
Firefighters respond to a range of emergencies, much more than just fires.
“We respond to elevator rescues, carbon monoxide calls, the odd false alarm, wildlife collisions and motor vehicle collisions on the highway,” Hanson said.
“We are still getting them here even though the speed limit is down to 80 (on the Trans-Canada Highway through Moosomin). We had one while we were in Regina. We also do a lot of fire prevention with the seniors and schools.”
Great volunteers, Supportive employers
Hanson said the Moosomin Fire Department has been fortunate to have a lot of supportive employers who allow employees to leave work to respond to fire calls.
“Everyone knows it’s volunteer, so it has never really been a problem,” he says. “When there’s a call, the guys are excused from work.”
Hanson said the Moosomin Fire Department currently has a waiting list of people wanting to join.
“It’s not a long waiting list but there are people on file,” he said. “We need the core guys, The Monday to Friday guys who work in town and can be excused from work, because we’ve got lots of guys at the mine and it’s nice to have people in town who we can count on to be there.
“We are mentoring one young gentlemen now, he is actually in school, a 16-year-old who is interested, so we’re mentoring him now.
“We’ve done that in the past with people like Darcy McKay and Sean Matichuck. We mentored them and they came up through the ranks. They started out at 16 years old and stayed on.”
Darcy McKay is now Clinical Operations Manager at STARS Air Ambulance.
Hanson says firefighters are a special breed.
“It takes a special breed of person to be a firefighter I believe. It’s got to be someone who wants to help, protect the community, stand up and protect property and life. It takes a special breed of person. I’ve talked to lots of friends and relations and people on the street who say ‘I don’t know how you do it. I couldn’t do it.’
“Well, not everyone can do it. Over the years that I’ve been a firefighter there is stuff that I’ve seen that will never leave my mind. That is just the way it is.
“You’ve got to have somebody that is willing to put themselves out there. They have got to be on call 24/7, 365 days and show up whenever they’re called. We expect people to show up and if you join that is what you do.”
He said he is proud of all of the members of the Moosomin Fire Department.
“We do have a very active fire department,” he said. “We’ve got a pretty good core group and then the secondary guys are pretty solid too.
“When the seven of us were in Regina we had 10 guys out at an accident on Highway 1, so that says a lot right there.
“One of the firefighters from Estevan that was receiving his award came up to me and said ‘what the hell are you guys going to do if you get a call today?’ And I said ‘As a matter of fact, they are out right now for a MVC on the Number One Highway.’ I said there would be 10 or 12 guys there, and there were. That’s how it goes. The calls come in and the guys show up.”