The focus for the Mesachie Lake Volunteer Fire Department over the next few months will be to raise enough funds to keep their rescue vehicle on the road. The truck was purchased five years ago and is the only vehicle that services the Circle Route between Mesachie Lake and Port Renfrew.
Much of the monies needed to run the truck come through fundraising initiatives. The department’s goal is to raise $5,000 by Dec. 15 of this year. To do so, they are holding a raffle for a painting by local artist Herb Wittrin. The painting is valued at $500.
The painting depicts the old 1950s Mesachie Lake fire truck, one that was built by Hillcrest Mill, and used to serve as an industrial dump truck for the mill.
Tickets are one for $5, and three for $10. They can be purchased at the Coffee Mill in Honeymoon Bay, as well as at different locations around Lake Cowichan and Duncan. However, members are also going to be going around to different locations throughout the fall to sell tickets and hot dogs and generate awareness of the department and the work they do on the Circle Route.
“The vehicle is funded by gaming,” said Deputy Chief Dave Middlemost. “They have put in thousands of dollars for us. Our fundraising allow us to put in for the gaming grant.”
He explained that fundraising efforts done by the department increased their chances of receiving gaming grants funds in kind, which then go into keeping the rescue truck on the road, as well as other expenses.
“If we didn’t go and raise any money, and all we did was our training—our training still counts as time in kind—but this [department fundraising] bumps it up a bit. We can still fund the vehicle if we didn’t do any of that, but it would be a lot closer to the line and we couldn’t get all the things that we’re trying to do for it,” said Middlemost.
For example, the department has recently done training for rescue situations along the Circle Route. This training was paid for by the Gaming Association. The practice was a low angle rescue, teaching members how to scale down an embankment and extract individuals from a vehicle.
However, the department also focusses on basic training on an ongoing basis as well, such as the Five Man Drill.
“It’s to keep us in practice so that when we get a structure fire, we come in, get our source of water, lay out our hoses and get water to the pumper and water to the hoses,” explained Middlemost.
“It’s a basic fire fighting drill,” said Middlemost. “We have to continually go back to the basics. As much advanced stuff as you take, and your head fills with all this knowledge when it comes down to basic fire fighting, this is it.”
As you can see, the Mesachie Volunteer Fire Department is constantly keeping up to date with both equipment and training, and they say they have a lot to offer those who are considering joining the department in terms of skills, and the department says that it is always looking for new recruits.
Currently they do not have enough members to ensure that all vital positions will be filled in the event of an emergency, if some of their members are away for any reason.
If you would like to volunteer with the Mesachie Volunteer Fire Department, search Mesachie Fire on Facebook, or contact the department by calling 250-749-6277. And don’t forget to watch for members throughout the fall as they fundraise to help keep their rescue truck on the road. You could be the winner of a Herb Wittrin painting by donating to the department.