Firefighters to shoulder medical calls

When it comes to life-saving training, Skidegate firefighters are really filling their boots.

Skidegate firefighters recently finished a six-week Emergency Medical Responder course.

Skidegate firefighters recently finished a six-week Emergency Medical Responder course.

When it comes to life-saving training, Skidegate firefighters are really filling their boots.

Most of the dozen-strong volunteer crew just finished an Emergency Medical Responder course they did over six weekends, and half are now licensed to work as first medical responders for BC Ambulance.

“Our guys would like to provide more than just fire service,” says Fire Chief Kyle Marshall, and with so many EMRs, Skidegate firefighters are looking take on an emergency medical contract for the village.

Marshall said the crew has already been called in several times for emergency medical help, and are often first on scene.

“We’ve done so with gusto and with pride, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do,” he said.

Besides their own training, the Skidegate fire department is also busy running First Aid and EMR courses for other islanders.

Earlier this year, the Skidegate fire hall hosted Haida Gwaii Rec instructors for a WorkSafe-approved, Level 1 First Aid course, and they ran another in Port Clements on Saturday.

Another six-week, part-time EMR course is in the works for Port Clements in January and February, and Marshall said that lately he gets calls from one or two people every day who want to sign up for one of the dozen spots.

The department is also planning to run a First Aid program for Sk’aadgaa Naay Elementary students in Grades 6 and 7, and an adapted course for students in kindergarten to Grade 4.

“It’ll be a good talk on numbers that they need to call, and how to recognize an emergency,” said Marshall, noting that for older students, First Aid training is a real help when it comes to applying for a first job.

Marshall said it’s great to see how many people are interested in training with the department, not only from Skidegate and Queen Charlotte but all over Haida Gwaii, and he credits his crew for providing such a strong example.

“We’ve got a really good group of people,” he said. “They’re keeners.”